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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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Richard Piggin
19 May 2017

The WannaCry or Wanna Decryptor malware has affected 150 countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Spain, Russia, Taiwan, France, and Japan. Several variants have already been reported, all presently targeting Windows-based operating systems, including embedded versions. Further variations, which could target other operating systems such as Linux, are anticipated. Early indications suggested email phishing campaigns initially infected computers, using email attachments and malicious websites links have been confirmed. The worm then spreads across networks. While assurances have been given regarding the loss of patient data, the malware provides backdoor access to victim’s computers, so data theft is a distinct possibility. Yet, the issue isn’t just about the security of patient information, it’s also about preventing patient harm. This is not an isolated incident. Similar incidents have already occurred in the healthcare sector, even in the UK. Only a few hospitals were affected, attracting limited publicity and concern. Many more medical facilities belonging to the U.S. MedStar Health provider were severely disrupted last year. The impact of such attacks also feature in a new BSI publication on Medical Device Cyber Security, which describes the convergence of safety and security risk, along with defensive principles. Other sectors have also been impacted  including UK,  French and Romanian car plants and the German rail operator. Spanish victims included telecoms multinational Telefonica, and utilities Iberdrola and Gas Natural. Critical infrastructure asset owners have been impacted by ransomware in the past, including several power utilities. Organisations with unsupported operating systems or ineffective patching programmes will continue to be vulnerable. At best,

UK & Europe ,

Les McCormack
27 Apr 2017

The event prompted a number of governments to study the effects of space weather on their power infrastructure. In the UK’s National Risk Register, space weather now ranks lower only than pandemic flu in the potential severity of its effects and is considered more likely than a major flooding event. In the United States, the National Academies of Sciences has estimated that a severe space weather event would cost the country $2 trillion in the first year alone – that’s 20 times the damages of Hurricane Katrina. But there remain areas and sectors where its impact is still uncertain. Domino effect The study of space weather effects on infrastructure is relatively immature, so we don’t know what the impact could be in certain sectors. The UK rail network, for example, is a very large, complex transit system, with around 12,000 single track kilometers of electrified rail lines. This lack of certainty regarding the impact of space weather on infrastructure prompted Atkins to author a pioneering report on the subject, in conjunction with RAL Space, a scientific research laboratory, and The University of York, both based in the UK. The study identified several elements in railway networks as potentially vulnerable. First, there is the question of power: if the electrical grid goes down, normal railway operations would be severely affected. The good news is that the UK’s National Grid has a strategy for hardening their infrastructure against severe space weather. For example, during current and future upgrades, the large transformers will be made more

North America ,

Lee Woodcock
07 Mar 2017

Reflecting on the past few months, it’s prompted me to think about Smart Cities, a phrase that’s not new, has promised so much and in my view, delivered so little. But, with a surge of new technology, digital disruption, entry of new market players and budget challenges for the public sector – could this be the catalyst for change? With this in mind, coupled with new themes and trends emerging globally across the industry, I wanted to take a moment and make five Intelligent Mobility predictions for 2017… Data Exploitation and Visualisation: This year we will see the emergence of new platforms, at pace. Data is arguably the life blood of a modern transport systems and critically important to unlocking value from new transport schemes, mobility solutions and customer tailored services. It will be through inter-operability, we see a drive towards ‘Platform as a Service’ across the sector which is here to critically disrupt the way we currently model, plan and deliver transport services globally in cities and urban areas. Journey Management: We will witness the breakdown of silos across the transport system, with the deployment of critical technology solutions that cut across organisational and operational barriers. The surge of new payment systems will start to deliver seamless and positive customer journey experiences through account based ticketing systems. This will mean no more management of multiple Apps or cards – one account for the individual or family, think Sky-Go package. Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: A huge amount of R&D is currently underway globally,

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David Brewer
06 Feb 2017

Investing both time and effort in design is key. Better adoption of digital tools to support design development has a role to play and will change the way the organisations involved in the design and construction process work together, challenging traditional boundaries. This week I witnessed an incredible example of auto-generative design; a computer developed an aircraft tail fin, creating thousands of variants to find the best fit with defined performance parameters. I also witnessed the hand measurement of Pucher charts, used to calculate bridge loading – with around a 10% error associated. This striking contrast reminded me of the expression; 'the future is already here, it's just very unevenly distributed.' The juxtaposition of old and new characterises the railway, but it does perhaps give us some pointers. As an industry, we need to be more responsive to new ways of working and technologies which enable this. For the applications of this thinking to rail engineering and for the full article, please see the January edition of Rail Engineer: (Page 7).

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Atkins has provided marine structural and engineering services to the Deer Park Terminal since 2009. To ensure the reliability and continued service to the terminal, we repaired and replaced deteriorated marine structures at Docks 1 and 2, including storm water management improvements and modifications to docking structures. To maintain a high level of service to Vopak’s customers during construction, we provided detailed construction sequencing and scheduling to minimize impact. At the facilities on Docks 3, 4, and 5, we provided engineering and construction management services as the owner’s representative. The renovation of Dock 3 and new construction of Docks 4 and 5 added additional barge dock facilities and increased the total number of ship berths from three to four, mitigating barge dock closures and safeguarding shipment schedules. To ease the significant congestion in Vopak’s limited footprint, a 2-mile rail loop was designed to receive unit trains and store up to 100 rail cars until they could be shuttled to Vopak’s nearby main terminal. Additionally, our team coordinated with pipeline companies to protect an important pipeline corridor that was crossed by the rail track during the design, engineering, and construction management phase of the rail upgrade. Additional work, known as Project ONE, provided program management, master planning, design, and environmental permitting services for three distinct areas: a large inland site, a marine site, and a connecting pipeline corridor. Based on our previous work to add a 2-mile rail loop, we provided construction management services to add a second loop inside of the first rail


The Doha Metro Red Line South project is part of the overall Doha Metro project being developed by Qatar Rail.  The Red Line, also known as the Coast Line, runs for about 40 kilometres from Al Wakra in the south to Lusail in the north and has 17 stations. The line connects Hamad International Airport at Terminal 1 to the centre of the city.  The Red Line South contract comprises c. 14 km of twin-bore tunnels along with five underground stations. Atkins was appointed as Lead Designer in June 2013 by RLS JV, a joint venture led by QDVC, a JV between Qatari Diar and France's Vinci Construction Grands Projects, and including South Korea's GS Engineering and Construction and Qatar's Al-Darwish Engineering.  The vision is to provide integrated railway services that are reliable, attractive and be the favoured mode of transport for all. Atkins has been responsible for the multi-disciplinary design of five underground stations, five switchbox structures, four emergency egress shafts as well as functional planning of tunnels/shafts and track alignment design. In addition to the above we are providing expert advice on all fire and life safety issues in establishing the appropriate fire strategy for the stations and tunnels, and assisting the client with obtaining Qatar Civil Defence Department approvals.

Qatar ,

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.  

USA , North America ,

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, Crossrail 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

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

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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     

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

Middle East & Africa

Julian Hill
Managing director, Rail
United Arab Emirates
Tel: +971 4405 9300


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