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With an extensive team of railway professionals we are committed to delivering excellence in every aspect of rail design and engineering.


The development and prosperity of population centres across the globe are dependent on the existence of efficient transport networks. Increased demand, advances in design and technology and investment in the sector has seen rail become a leader in sustainable transport, marrying both carbon concerns with prudency.

Critical transport links

Efficient links between towns, cities and countries has never been more critical. Where business and industry is the heartbeat, sustainable transport networks form the arteries. Although the two are interdependent, they are both vital to cultural and economic growth.

Rail engineering and systems design

Atkins is a leader in rail engineering and systems design, providing expertise to clients from our experience and in-depth knowledge of the rail and engineering domains.

From the development and maintenance of existing systems to the implementation of new schemes, we help clients through the entire project lifecycle to ensure that maximum value and outcomes are achieved.

Our rail services are delivered via a multidisciplinary workforce located in the UK, Scandinavia, China, the Middle East, India and the USA.



We provide a broad range of consultancy services to the rail sector. Our experienced teams provide innovative solutions that span every discipline in both the light and heavy rail markets.

Reliable rail infrastructure

Reliable infrastructure is the foundation of any railway system, with design and construction underpinning optimal performance and reliability.

As a leading consultant in the rail sector, clients entrust us to successfully deliver their infrastructure projects, ensuring deadlines are met and costs are controlled.

Carrying passengers, moving goods

Rail vehicles must be designed to suit their intended purpose. For passengers they represent the most significant element of their journey experience, while for freight handlers they constitute an integral part of the logistics chain.

From certification services to full design consultancy, our vehicle specialists provide innovative and effective solutions in response to the business needs of vehicle manufacturers, maintainers, owners and operators.

Looking after your assets

The rail sector is characterised by a range, longevity and complexity of assets found in few other industries. For all stakeholders, it is vital that these assets are managed effectively to ensure the rail systems remain safe and reliable.

By adopting a coordinated and systematic approach to asset management, we maximise the value, performance and return on our clients’ investments.

Under one roof

Whether housing rolling stock or protecting commuters from the elements, a well-designed property is critical to any operational railway.

Our property capability encompasses stations, transport interchanges, depots, lineside buildings and associated developments. We take pride in our ability to offer clients a comprehensive suite of services by combining traditional design work with diverse skills from across the wider Atkins Group.


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Melina Christina
21 Oct 2016

Often used as a buzz word, everyone talks about it but it seems there has been some confusion and lack of clarity on what this actually includes, and how, for example, this differs from the ITS sector or the ‘smart city’ concept. Definitions could be summarised as initiatives using technology to: Improve current transport systems, by making them whether more efficient/less costly (e.g. electric vehicles, wireless induction charging) or more convenient (e.g. City Mapper, contactless payment, AutoPilot from Tesla); and Provide new opportunities to move around, e.g. Uber, self-service bike-sharing scheme, Drive Now from BMW. Considering those two angles, whether improving the existing or creating new mobility opportunities; one could argue what is new about this? For generations, engineers and scientists have been trying to do exactly the same - achieve those two goals, with a similar approach which is using ‘new’ technologies available at the time.  A simple example is the inventors of the internal-combustion engine whom we can’t deny they were doing ‘intelligent mobility’. Some will disagree and say that Intelligent Mobility includes the focus on user needs and a real personalisation of the journey. Again, transport has always been on meeting user needs and putting the user at the centre of the journey somehow. What is more personalised than the private car? Current technology, especially based on the mobile phone, has generated opportunities for personalisation and indeed to a greater extent than anything possible before. It is this shift that creates a

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Rebecca Tommey
20 Oct 2016

First world investment in Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) continues at a staggering pace, with announcements made almost on a daily basis around new technology developments or deployment demonstrators. However, limited research has been undertaken to fully understand the impact of adopting CAVs in the developing world. It is expected that Autonomous Vehicles will provide an array of benefits for the developing world - the most important benefit will be a significant reduction in the number of fatalities as a result of road accidents and air pollution. Research shows there are more than 700,000 road accident fatalities in Asia each year which represents approximately 60% of the entire world fatalities. AVs could significantly reduce the number of immature deaths by reducing the number of accidents on the road network and providing a healthier environment for the residents of these cities. If Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) ran at an operator level where the user can hire/pay for services as they go, this could significantly increase the number of people who have access to a vehicle. According to the 2011 census in India, 90% of people in urban areas and 97% of people in rural areas do not have access to a vehicle. It is a well-known fact that the developing world cities suffer from grid locked roads which cost countries like Jakarta, an estimated US$2.8 billion. AVs have the potential to reduce these figures by operating more effectively which will relieve congestion on the network. One of the largest challenges in the developing world is

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Stephen Ashton
20 Sep 2016

The opportunity to learn from each other and to apply this shared learning was invaluable to the successful delivery of the programme of works. What sticks out to me as I look back is how we worked as a team, sharing and owning these challenges as one. We listened to each other, respecting the skills and expertise brought by each party and so pulled together to deliver the solution – we all won to the benefit of the city. We were not an alliance, such as the Staffordshire Alliance or East West Rail, but we held the principles of working in alliance close to our hearts, as we understood the role of collaboration in successfully delivering complex major infrastructure projects. This approach is exemplified by the way the team worked together to integrate the old and new structures at Birmingham New Street.  Atkins applied best practice to prove the 45-year old structure was safe to re-model and re-use, when subjected to significant demolition and construction works, all without interrupting the operation of the station and the busy lives of thousands of travellers.  We needed to prove that the old structure would be able to safely carry the new atrium roof, along with all other modifications to the building’s loading regime. To test these new loads, we established a Global Stability Analysis (GSA) to determine the building’s response through each deconstruction and construction stage, as well as in its final condition. The great value of the GSA was proven when Mace and their demolition contractor,

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Ben Dunlop
09 Sep 2016

Electrification holds the key. After two decades of very limited expansion, the GB rail network is increasing its coverage of electrified infrastructure at an unprecedented rate. £3 billion has been committed over the next 10 years to increasing the number of electrified lines nationally from 39% to 51% by the end of CP6. Government/industry change Unlike previous electrification campaigns, there is the added complexity of ensuring all future electrification projects are compliant with BS1192, the British Standard code of practice for the collaborative production of architectural, engineering and construction information. This provides a significant challenge for the sector which demands a step change in working methods. The current skills shortage, coupled with a historic reliance on manual design processes, necessarily precipitated innovation to meet the requirements of the demanding programme of planned works, ensuring quality and timely delivery. Delivering a design of improved quality, increasing the use of digital data platforms, optimising design solutions, all whilst reducing timescales and cost, would not be achievable without automating large elements of the Overhead Line Equipment (OLE) design process. Finding ways to improve productivity and streamline processes is now an industry-wide challenge. Atkins' solution The decision to embrace technology was an easy one. Yet the absence of a commercially available integrated OLE software application, encompassing all elements associated with OLE design and which was not aligned to a specific supplier or system, posed a problem. Atkins' Transportation division' solution was to develop a suite of in-house integrated tools named TADPOLE (Tools Assisting Design

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TfL invited Atkins to tender for the Deep Tubes Programme Aerial Survey. The specification requested as close to 2cm resolution imagery and survey accuracy as could be achieved, 2cm being a resolution which up until that point had not been possible from a fixed wing aircraft. Atkins developed the methodology that would deliver 2cm aerial imagery and +/-2cm survey accuracy. The Geomatics team won the contract and successfully captured aerial imagery for the Bakerloo Line, Central Line and parts of the Piccadilly Line at 2cm GSD (Ground Sampled Distance).

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Limehouse Viaduct is an early stock brick Grade II listed structure originally built to support the London to Blackwall Railway, serving the old docks of East London, and now carrying Docklands Light Railway system. The viaduct is punctuated by a number of flat metal deck spans which cross a network of public highways and watercourses. Due to the length of the viaduct structure and differing forms of construction, the project was divided into four packages. Package 1 was completed on time enabling the client to implement the tender process for the site works within the project time scales. Packages 2, 3 & 4 are due to commence following completion of the Package 1 site works.

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Our refurbishment of the Grade A listed building dramatically transformed the appearance and facilities of the station ahead of the 2014 Commonwealth Games. Working closely with Network Rail, we created a design to improve the quality of experience of the 38 million people who pass through the station each year. Working within a tight timeframe, our team transformed the station’s main entrances from Union Street, the low level station and the main concourse washrooms in time for the Games. Their design pays homage to the station’s original environment by introducing tall, delicate archway structures and large format gates which feature ornate metal work echoing times gone by. Previously, there had been an over-reliance on complex signage within the station and there was a desire to simplify the passenger journey and communicate important gateways from a distance through material and form. Although significant in scale, the new arch and gateways are elegantly proportioned and delicately perforated, and laser cut steel plates help belie their structural weight. The significance of secondary access to Union Street was also intensified through the introduction of

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Atkins has formed an unincorporated Joint Venture with CH2M and SENER with the split being 40% to Atkins, 50% to CHI2M and 10% to SENER. The joint venture brings together the engineering expertise of Atkins, the programme management capability of CH2M and the international high speed experience from SENER. The contract is valued at between £250 million and £350 million and is expected to run for 10 years, extendable through to commissioning of the railway, and covers the civils, stations, planning and environment, and railway systems aspects of Phase One of the project. Atkins’ Transportation division in the UK will be working on planning permissions, and railway systems and new build civils design management and assurance for the route, stations and depots, calling on teams in Infrastructure for stations, utilities, tunnelling and the huge environmental and archaeological challenges we will face. Phase One of HS2 will run between London and Birmingham, with a connection to West Coast Main Line at Handsacre in Staffordshire, a total length of around 230km.

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As a Federal Transit Administration (FTA) program management oversight consultant (PMOC), Atkins oversaw the Portland Streetcar Loop (PSL) project, which consists of approximately 3.3 miles of new fixed guideway alignment, six new streetcars manufactured by Oregon Iron Works, along with 28 new streetcar stops. Opened in 2012, the PSL provides service between downtown Portland’s Pearl District to the city’s eastside, including the Lloyd Center District and Central Eastside and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI). Our role included assessing the city’s management capacity and technical capability, tracking constructability reviews, planning and implementing risk assessment, performing change order reviews, and providing value engineering services. The new alignment is entirely street-running except for the overpass over the Union Pacific Railroad (UPRR) tracks. The alignment crosses the Willamette River on the existing Broadway Bridge, which is a bascule bridge structure. The connection from SE Martin Luther King Boulevard to SE Water Avenue in the OMSI district is via viaduct crossing the UPRR. The Portland Streetcar system is touted as one of the most successful in the country, helping spur renewed interest in using modern streetcars to alleviate congestion in crowded urban areas. At least five other cities embarked on new urban streetcars since Portland started the trend in 2001.


The largest component of FasTracks, the Eagle public private partnership (P3) project, unites three corridors and will more than double the Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) current transit system when the final line opens in the fall of 2016. The project’s three corridors stretch over 36 miles from Wheat Ridge and Arvada in Denver’s west suburbs to the Denver International Airport on the city’s eastern side. In June 2010, RTD selected the Denver Transit Partners (DTP) team to design, build, finance, operate and maintain the Eagle P3 project. This includes the University of Colorado A Line to Denver International Airport, B Line to Westminster, the Gold Line (G Line) to Wheat Ridge and Arvada, and a commuter rail maintenance facility. Our role on the DTP design team included corridor management and design for the trackway, roadway, and structural elements for portions of the University of Colorado A Line and design for trackway, roadway, drainage, and structural elements of the B Line to Westminster. These corridors involved grade crossings, overhead structures, and underpasses in several jurisdictions. With a significant number of stakeholders and multiple projects in progress, effective coordination and communication was critical to manage interfaces with outside projects, internal project components, and operational requirements. The University of Colorado A Line is particularly important to Denver residents and visitors as it extended rail service to Denver International Airport—located 25 miles outside of downtown Denver—providing cost-effective and reliable transit to the airport. Prior to the start of the Eagle P3 project, Atkins worked closely with


The GEML Vision Group identified the need for shorter journey times, more routes, infrastructure investment and for an all-round better travelling experience for customers. Investment in the GEML is expected to deliver £3.4bn in direct economic benefits and £280m in wider impacts following an Atkins study for the East of England Development Agency. The objective was for Atkins to identify necessary interventions needed to improve three key areas: meeting peak travel demand to/from London, reducing journey times, and introducing improved rolling stock. Atkins built on previous work on the economic case for investment on the GEML and delivered a bespoke strategy based on Atkins’ rail infrastructure and rolling stock expertise. Atkins organised meetings with stakeholders, modelled costs and benefits and finally recommended a package of measures to be taken forward into the future, which played a key role in shaping and informing the debate on rail services in East Anglia. The work informed Network Rail’s work plan and subsequently led to Atkins being commissioned by the GEML taskforce to provide the business case for taking forward the recommendations, forming a large part of the Greater Anglia franchise specification.

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MALPAS is one of the world’s most rigorous and advanced software analysis and verification toolsets. It has been used to verify safety critical software programmes running railway signalling systems in Australia and the UK.


Ready to dig  

Atkins is the UK’s leading provider of utility reports. We also provide a wide range of utility management services across the lifecycle of a project.


For more information on our work and experience in this sector please contact:

UK & Europe

Philip Hoare
Managing director
United Kingdom
Tel: +44 1454 66 2566
Email: philip.hoare@atkinsglobal.com

Olav Aarrestad
Business area manager, Rail
Tel: +47 971 88471
Email: olav.aarrestad@atkinsglobal.com

Johan Stranddorf
Director Rail
Tel: +45 5251 9127
Email: johan.stranddorf@atkinsglobal.com

Asia Pacific

John Blackwood
Director, transport
Tel: +852 29721002
Email: john.blackwood@atkinsglobal.com



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