OREANDA-NEWS. February 11, 2016. A joint venture between CH2M, the global engineering and programme management company, and TRL, the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory, has helped support the UK Department for Transport (DfT) in the competition process for the Northern and TransPennine express (TPE) rail franchises. The new franchises, which were finalised at the end of December, will see significant investment in new rolling stock, improved train services and additional capacity in the north of England in support of the Northern Powerhouse.

CH2M, TRL and supply chain partners Mott MacDonald and DirexSolutions, have been the DfT’s technical advisors on the Northern and TPE franchises since 2013. This has included support to DfT during the specification, bid evaluation and negotiation of the direct awards for both franchises and the full franchise competitions.

Both CH2M and TRL supported the DfT in all aspects of the franchise specification, including a market review of the existing franchise performance, the development of a full suite of demand, revenue, cost, timetable, performance and financial models, the testing of train service options and business case development.

During bid evaluation the CH2M and TRL joint venture supplied teams of quality evaluators to assess and score delivery plans submitted by bidders.  Compliance with key aspects of the invitation to tender (ITT) was also assessed and a technical review of bidders’ modelling suites undertaken.

Richard Sanderson, Director of Transport Planning and Advisory at CH2M, said: "CH2M is delighted to have worked alongside the Department for Transport in getting these important franchises to market. It has been a significant effort from all involved to let two such important franchises concurrently and we are proud to have been part of a process that will transform rail services in the North of England. The project has demonstrated real collaboration between DfT, Rail North and all its advisors."

Vijay Ramdas, Head of Rail, Infrastructure Division, at TRL added: “TRL is delighted to have been part of such a significant process that promises to drive substantial improvements in rail services in Northern England. The successful completion of the project marks another addition to TRL’s growing portfolio of projects in the rail sector and builds on the company’s longstanding relationship with the Department for Transport.”