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News releases 2017

The £250m Staffordshire Area Improvements Programme was crowned Outstanding Project – Large (over £20m) at the UK Railway Industry Awards 2017 on Thursday February 9, at a glittering awards ceremony in London, attended by over 1,000 rail industry professionals.

The multiple award-winning programme was delivered by the Staffordshire Alliance, a joint venture of Atkins, Laing O'Rourke, Network Rail and VolkerRail. It was achieved within budget and the scheme officially entered into operational use over a year ahead of schedule.

The Staffordshire Alliance, the first 'pure' alliance in the UK rail industry, successfully delivered the Staffordshire Area Improvements Programme, which included:

improved line-speeds of up to 100mph from Stafford to Crewe on the West Coast Main Line

upgraded signalling on existing lines around Stafford

six miles of new railway

11 bridges in the Staffordshire countryside

and improvements to local access.

Matthew Clark, Alliance team leader, said: "This was a landmark project for the industry, which has successfully proven the value and efficiency of early contractor involvement, innovative delivery solutions and an integrated project team. Off-site manufacturing techniques, and the latest engineering design technologies, were critical elements of our success.

"Equally, we fostered a strong and successful team spirit, which enabled us to work as one, despite our different disciplines and backgrounds. I feel we've raised the bar for rail infrastructure delivery, and hope we can replicate our success again."

Current Alliance manager, Mark Bell, said: "The team has maintained its pursuit of excellence through to the closing phases of this project, by working collaboratively and building strong relationships with supply chain partners and local stakeholders. Our team are immensely proud of what has been achieved and showcased in the industry.

Throughout the project, all of the Alliance partners worked together on equal terms in shared office locations, resulting in a close and highly efficient team ethos and positive relationship. This successful operating model is now considered by many to be the blueprint for future infrastructure projects.

The West Coast Main Line is the busiest mixed use railway line in Europe. It links London to Manchester, the West Midlands, the Northwest and Scotland, and is regarded as a strategically vital corridor for both passenger and freight traffic.

The Staffordshire Alliance won a raft of industry awards in 2016, including the Collaborative Working accolade at the 2016 UK Railway Industry Awards and the best Major Project at the Railway Industry Innovation Awards 2016.


For more information:

Francesca Buckley

External Communications Manager, Transportation

+44 779 090 226

Notes to editors:
Atkins ( is one of the world's most respected design, engineering and project management consultancies, employing over 18,000 people across the UK, North America, Middle East, Asia Pacific and Europe. We build long term trusted partnerships to create a world where lives are enriched through the implementation of our ideas. You can view Atkins’ recent projects on our website               

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