Class 717 Procurement, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), London, UK

Govia is a joint venture between the Go-Ahead Group (65%) and Keolis (35%), two substantial and successful transport companies in their own right. Govia has introduced more new train fleets in the UK than any other operator. GTR, one of two Govia franchises, is Britain’s largest rail franchise in terms of passenger numbers and number of trains.

The Class 717 is a fleet of twenty-five 6 car, dual-voltage, EMUs based on Siemens’ Desiro City platform, that was introduced to replace the Class 313 fleet, serving routes to and from Moorgate station in London. Taylor Airey was engaged to act on behalf of GTR and Rock as project manager for the procurement of the fleet.

What we did

Managing the design review and approvals process:
We reviewed design submissions and managed the distribution of these submissions to relevant stakeholders for their review. We collated and tracked comments from GTR and Rock, working with Siemens to find solutions to the issues raised. We facilitated cross-business workshops to identify hazards associated with the introduction of the new fleet and to determine any that should be fed through the design process. We supported Siemens and GTR in managing the compatibility and approval processes to ensure units could be put into service without delay. Amongst other activities, this included direct discussion with Network Rail to support the compatibility process and presentation of derogations to the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) to support approvals under the Railways Interoperability Regulations (RIR).

Commercial and contract management:
From contract signature through to introduction into service of the final train, we administered the manufacture & supply agreement between GTR, Rock, and Siemens for the supply of the new trains. This comprised controlling all correspondence for the project, and tracking the respective obligations of Siemens, GTR, and Rock to ensure that these were fulfilled when required.
Beyond administering the contract, we managed GTR’s and Rock’s commercial interests on the project. We negotiated contract variations with Siemens and adopted a pragmatic and collaborative approach with all parties to ensure negotiations avoided unnecessary conflict whilst protecting our clients’ interests.

Managing the acceptance process:
We managed each train’s progression through the various stages of acceptance at Siemens’ facilities and at GTR’s premises prior to entry into service. We determined the qualifications against each unit for acceptance and worked with the parties to prioritise and resolve these. We provided train inspection and test witnessing services to support this process in the UK and overseas at Siemens’ facilities.

Outcome and Benefit

The Class 717 fleet commenced operations in 2018 as planned. Fleet introduction was completed, within budget, in September 2019:
This has transformed passengers’ journeys by replacing 42-year-old Class 313 trains, with fully-accessible, spacious, modern air-conditioned units having the latest in passenger information, on-board Wi-Fi and power points at every pair of seats. Taylor Airey’s management of the procurement project allowed GTR to achieve this outcome without diverting internal resources away from delivering existing services to passengers.

“The Taylor Airey team was the right choice for GTR, we have worked with them on other projects, large and small. The team always listen, fully understand and work with you to achieve the right outcome for not only now, but the future.” David Hickson, Head of Engineering and Asset Management, Govia Thameslink Railway

Services we offered

Taylor Airey provided the following services to GTR:

  • Contract administration and commercial management
  • Correspondence control and management
  • Acceptance process management
  • Test witnessing and quality inspection services
  • Design/engineering review and technical investigation services
  • Hazard workshop facilitation
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