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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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Philip Hoare
06 Dec 2016

You can find the second article in the series, which looks at encouraging and fostering the right environment for innovation, here. How do we fast-track change and what will future funding models look like? It is clear that funding models need to be evaluated within their individual political, legal and regulatory contexts.  What works in one culture may well jar elsewhere.  Governments around the world are looking for new ways of funding infrastructure projects. The flip side of the coin of innovation is risk.  Third party funding is emerging as a viable route, but for it to be successful, there needs to be a top down government-led approach which aligns funding mechanisms and procurement models with this new source of revenue. Private investors bring a fresh perspective.  As with any commercial organisation, they tend to be very streamlined in their thinking, responsive to the demands of their shareholders and keen to reap the maximum benefit of their funding of a project. Collaboration, not just between lender and recipient, but also across the industry to promote an environment in which lending into the sector is an attractive and viable option, is essential.  For new models of funding to be successful, there needs to be a whole-industry approach. There also needs to be an understanding that the rail industry is a complex space.  Lenders need to be clear about the gestation period and lifecycle of a project, and frankly, when and how they can expect to see a return.  They also need to be able to

Group , Middle East , North America , Rest of World , UK & Europe , Asia Pacific ,

Philip Hoare
25 Nov 2016

You can find the first article in the series, which looks at changing consumer expectations and how the rail industry responds to this challenge, here.  This second article will focus on encouraging and fostering the right environment for innovation. Challenge is often the precursor to innovation Innovation can enable an enhanced passenger experience. In times of change, both at micro and macro level, we must be able to show the government and industry that we are able to deliver value for money. Innovating, both in terms of the emergence of new technology and the more effective use of existing assets, is critical to endeavours to realise a passenger-centred rail network. So what does innovation in rail look like and how do we make it happen? Is there a blueprint for success? Investing in new digital technologies which can help to alleviate the capacity challenges faced by the network, reduce the amount of lineside infrastructure required and facilitate the move towards pre-emptive maintenance all have a role to play. It would certainly appear that those countries which are able to best harvest the spirit of innovation are those with certain defining characteristics: a simple(r) stakeholder environment encouragement of diversity and inclusion in STEM engagement, from primary school age onwards continued high quality on-the-job skills development long term proactive government investment ring-fenced funds for research into future technologies use of data to identify behavioural trends and facilitate

Group , Middle East , North America , Rest of World , UK & Europe , Asia Pacific ,

Philip Hoare
17 Nov 2016

Our world is changing. As an industry, if we are going to fulfil the expectations of passengers in the digital age, then we need to harness industry collaboration to unlock the barriers to future mobility and drive continuous improvement for passengers. To shape the future of transportation, we need to dream big and be willing to test new ideas, harnessing new technology, listening to the needs of passengers, encouraging innovation and developing new funding models. We see future mobility as characterised by seamless end-to-end journeys, the establishment of a new norm where technology-enabled customers rely on digital platforms powered by mobile apps to facilitate their journey choices, multi-modal trips with a single payment mechanism and access over ownership. Lessons to learn? New start-ups are materialising across the rail sector, readily attracting investment.  They are lean, smart and agile. They share the ability to continually innovate, go through multiple iterations and try and test new concepts quickly. With limited overheads, they are able to rapidly establish a presence, particularly in the growth markets of emerging economies. Meanwhile, the rail industry faces increasing pressure to provide a high-quality travelling experience for passengers and embrace technology to deliver ever higher levels of safety, reliability, comfort and cost-effectiveness. Is there a way of embracing the potential of start-ups to incubate new ideas and drive innovation to create the digital railway of the 22nd century today?  Strategic partnerships with start-ups and technology firms offer one route; another possibility is developing bespoke incubator teams within more established businesses. The future of rail, and

Group , Middle East , North America , Rest of World , UK & Europe , Asia Pacific ,

Jason Pavey
10 Nov 2016

It has moved beyond rhetoric to the point of no return. Pace has been swift with six deals already agreed and ratified, and a further ten submitted and pending. So sixteen regions have put aside any political or geospatial differences to collaborate and work together. Seizing the moment to drive decision making and empowerment to a new benchmark. As for other regions it’s a very mixed picture. In places devolution is acting as a catalyst for potential local government reorganisation and exposing deep lying differences that appear on the surface to be irreparable. Collaboration and seeking to work together across regions in whatever form is now critical to ensure that the benefits and outcomes of devolution are realised. Newly formed combined authorities are in some ways like start-up companies. Whilst they have a strong history of delivering locally, many authorities now find themselves with the challenge of joining up across combined authority, geographic regions and beyond. This becomes an adaptive change challenge.  It’s not about drawing new organisation charts and setting up processes or working groups. Collaborative behaviours become increasingly important to equip people to work across historic silos; they galvanise and motivate the delivery of transport investment programmes beyond their traditional ‘patch’.  Whilst a challenge, it presents an incredible opportunity to drive real change, establish best ‘athlete’ and shared services on scales not seen in a generation. To respond to the devolution challenge of delivering growth and closing productivity, and at the same time, address the fiscal challenges authorities face

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The initial phase of the program was the design and construction of the South Airport Automated People Mover (APM) Complex. As a subconsultant to the prime architect, Atkins is responsible for civil and transportation engineering for the South APM Complex. This initial phase included the design and construction of a new APM station, new 2,400 car parking garage, renovation of the APM station in the North Terminal, completion of the APM guideway structure to the South APM Complex, roadways, bridges, overpasses, site grading, utilities, and all associated infrastructure. The ultimate STC program will include the South APM Complex as well as an Intermodal Transportation Facility, which will serve as a hub for three passenger rail projects, including a planned $2.2 billion intercity passenger rail line from Miami. Atkins was responsible for planning the entire roadway system for the STC ultimate buildout. Atkins was also responsible for the design of the loop access roadway surrounding the South APM Complex, including planning and development of alternative roadway concepts for the ultimate transportation master plan addressing the future STC. This effort included roadway plans, stormwater conveyance systems, signing and pavement marking plans, demolition plans, utility coordination, retaining walls, and maintenance of traffic plans. The approximate length of the 2-to-4 lane loop roadway was 3 miles.  

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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).

UK ,

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.

UK ,

As the only above ground station in Crossrail’s central section, Custom House provides an important connection for London commuters. A joint team from Atkins, Arup, Allies & Morrison and Laing O’Rourke collaborated to develop the striking design for the station, creating a beacon for both Crossrail and the community. This had to work around a number of constraints at the development, including a very narrow site; existing utilities; existing DLR remaining fully operational throughout construction; a busy footpath and congested Victoria Dock Road; and a public right of way. Our strategy for the construction of Custom House included pre-fabricated and standardised components, with a ‘kit of parts’ forming the platforms, columns, concourse slab and roof. This unusual and innovative approach had a number of advantages. It minimised work on site that, in turn, drove down the programme time, preliminary costs and the impact on the local community. Off-site manufacture required fewer deliveries and vehicle movements around the site, reducing traffic, noise and effects on air quality. By shifting construction activity from site to factory working conditions were improved and health and safety risks reduced. The more controlled conditions of the factory also ensure more consistent and higher-quality production. The development of a pre-cast concrete solution brought other benefits to the construction phase, allowing swifter installation by gantry crane of repetitious units, a benefit made more acute by the proximity of live overhead power cables and the restriction this imposed on the construction sequence. Once opened the station will welcome regional and international visitors to

UK ,

Cambridge North Station will create a new gateway to Cambridge and its northern fringes. The development is expected to serve over 3,000 passengers per day, and forms a key piece of Cambridgeshire’s transport infrastructure. The new station will alleviate congestion in the city centre and open up access to Cambridge Science Park and several major new developments to the north of Cambridge. Through consultation and collaboration with Cambridgeshire County Council the Atkins design team created a piece of functional rail infrastructure, benchmarked for cost against other similar developments, which was also a piece of architecture specific to Cambridge and the high tech industries it would be helping to serve. The passenger route through Cambridge North is clear and direct with constant views of the passenger destination. This allows the building to declutter itself of signage. Natural light is also used as part of the wayfinding strategy, with both top light and large format windows lighting key areas of the station and providing visual reminders to passengers of their route. The station is wrapped in three equal bands of aluminium panels which have been perforated with a design derived from John Horton Conway’s “Game of Life” theories which he established while at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge in 1970. These beautiful, delicate panels ensure passive security to ground floor glazed areas, assist with wayfinding while crossing the footbridge and allow the building to transform its appearance between day and night through sensitive backlighting. By bringing out elements of its local history and surrounding

UK ,

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

UK ,

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.

UK ,

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.





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     

Olav Aarrestad
Business area manager, Rail     
Tel: +47 971 88471

Johan Stranddorf
Director Rail
Tel: +45 5251 9127

Asia Pacific

John Blackwood
Director, transport
Tel: +852 29721002


North America

United States of America
Tel: +1 800 477 7275


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