Ipswich Chord Named Best Large Project at Network Rail Partnership Awards 2014

Spencer Rail has scooped three top industry accolades at the Network Rail Partnership Awards 2014, with the company’s work on the Ipswich Chord being named the best large project on Britain’s Railways in 2013-14.

The best large project category recognises schemes that have helped deliver a safer, more reliable railway with greater capacity and efficiency.

The team at Spencer Rail also won the top award for collaborative working on the East Kent Re-signalling project, in conjunction with Medway Council, Atkins and Balfour Beatty Rail, as well as being highly commended for its community engagement work on the Ipswich Chord. The company was also shortlisted in the driving efficiencies category for its work at Putney station and in the top safety category for how diligently it managed its operations at the Ipswich Chord.

Over the past year, Network Rail has worked with over 4,000 suppliers. The Network Rail Partnership Awards are a way of celebrating the best work delivered by supply chain partners and their role in delivering a better railway for a better Britain.

The Ipswich Chord is a new 1.2km double track railway providing an essential connection between the East Suffolk line and the Great Eastern line, a project crucial in easing congestion for both passenger and freight services.  

David McLoughlin, Spencer Rail’s CEO, said: “Spencer Rail was shortlisted in no less than five of the 12 categories this year – the top number. To come away with two awards and a commendation for Community Engagement is a testament to the hard work of our whole team and our supply chain partners who work tirelessly day in, day out to help improve the rail network for the millions of passengers who use the system every year.

“I am delighted for our Ipswich Chord Project Director, Danny Lane, and his team and am thankful to Network Rail for their recognition and endorsement of our work. None of this could have been achieved without the tremendous backing of colleagues from Network Rail, including our Alliance Manager, Damien Gent. Network Rail appointed us to deliver one of their more challenging and prestigious projects and then worked alongside us and supported us every step of the way. We really could not have asked for more.

“We will now look at how we can go on and become even better at what we do, the innovation we can deliver and the further value we can create.”

This announcement follows the news that Spencer Rail won a national industry award for its work at Gravesend station last week.

The Gravesend station remodelling scheme won the ‘Best Large Project of the Year Award’ at the Railway Industry Innovation Awards 2014.

Spencer Rail was the principal contractor commissioned by Network Rail to design, manage and deliver the multi-million pound project, which formed the final stage of the Kent Train Lengthening Programme.

The works included building an extra platform at the station and track realignment to accommodate the growing number of commuters to London. This needed to be long enough for 12-car trains, which also meant extending the existing two platforms.

Tom Kerins, Operations Director at Spencer Rail and the Programme Director on the Gravesend project, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won such a prestigious national award. It is a fantastic achievement by our team, Network Rail and our supply chain partners who delivered a great new station for the people of Gravesend.

“The main construction phase of the project was primarily delivered over a 15-day blockade between December 22, 2013, and January 6, 2014. The works, which involved meticulous design and planning, were truly multidisciplinary and showcased our wide-ranging experience and expertise.

“The project has unlocked capacity improvements in Kent which will provide more space and seats for passengers. This is crucial to the overall passenger satisfaction on one of the busiest commuter routes in and out of London. It has provided a more modern infrastructure for all passengers using the station, a key part of which is the ‘Access for All’ lifts on each platform.

“As you would expect, there has been a tremendous amount of hard work put in by the team and I am thrilled that it has been highlighted as a model of best practice. Congratulations to all involved.”

Spencer Rail is now waiting to hear the results of the National Rail Awards in the autumn of this year. Once again, Ipswich Chord has been short-listed in the project of the year category and the company’s work on the Wessex Package 7 platform lengthening project at 50 stations has been shortlisted in the Stephenson Engineering Innovation grouping. An announcement is expected on 18 September 2014.