Rolling programme of schemes envisaged
BOTH THE UK and Scottish Governments have set out new approaches to delivering railway enhancements, both of which seek to create a pipeline of investment and develop a rolling programme of schemes.
The UK Government’s Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) approach is based around five stages of activity separated by formal investment decision gateways.
The first three stages – determine, develop and design – are intended to be characterised by increasing levels of detail and understanding.
To proceed from these three stages to the final two, schemes will require a suitable business case. The final two – deliver and deploy – will focus on building and operating the enhancement and realising the anticipated benefits. Government notes the stages do not and need not align directly with Network Rail’s Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) process but says some later stages will be informed by GRIP-related activities.
A joint decision with the infrastructure manager, delivery agent and any other funders or infrastructure management will be taken at each gateway on whether or not to proceed. From determine to develop this will be based on a Strategic Outline Business Case (SOBC), from develop to design on an Outline Business Case (OBC) and from design to deliver on a Final Business Case (FBC).
These decisions will be informed by DfT’s priorities and principles for investment. Enhancements will enter the pipeline at the most appropriate stage based on their level of development.
This may be particularly relevant for market-led proposals put forward by third parties, for which Government is seeking interest.
The determine stage will contain all potential enhancements being promoted but lacking a government-endorsed business case. The develop phase will focus on the outcomes being sought, with design then defining the solutions and outputs required. Deliver will seek to ensure works are completed to secure the intended benefits, such as by appointing contractors, and subject to acceptance this will lead to the final stage, deployment.
The Scottish Government’s pipeline system places the emphasis on ‘a whole system approach to investment, ensuring best use of public funds at every stage of project design, development and delivery’. It comprises a pre-pipeline stage aligning with the GRIP1 and GRIP2 stages in the Network Rail process, reviewed at each stage by the promoter. Where Government funding or approval is sought the Scottish Transport Appraisal Guidance (STAG) must be used.
The pre-pipeline stages are initial appraisal, preliminary options appraisal, detailed options appraisal and then post appraisal, after which Transport Scotland will rule on whether the scheme enters the pipeline process.
This comprises an Outline Business Case (GRIP3/4) and a Final Business Case (GRIP5), each followed by a Transport Scotland decision point, before moving to delivery, handback, closeout and evaluation.