Major Spencer Group rail project recognised in industry Oscars

Spencer Group’s exceptional performance and achievements have been recognised in the Oscars of the rail industry.

The rail specialist was Highly Commended in the Infrastructure Achievement of the Year category of the National Rail Awards 2021 for delivering the £30m Stevenage Turnback Project.

Working on behalf of client Network Rail and with end user Govia Thameslink Railway, the complex 24-month major enhancement works saw Spencer Group deliver a series of significant improvements.

Spencer Group designed and built a new 130m-long platform at Stevenage Station in Hertfordshire, as well as two kilometres of electrified track and signalling and additional works.

As a result, long-distance trains can use the Hertford Loop to connect to Stevenage Station without using timetable space on the adjacent East Coast Main Line. This in turn allowed two additional services into London Kings Cross from Stevenage per hour.

The project was recognised at the National Rail Awards, which reward excellence across every aspect of the UK’s railways, from the contributions of frontline workers to the industry’s biggest projects.

Spencer Group teams designed and built a new 130m-long platform, two kilometres of electrified track and signalling, as well as other works, within the acclaimed project.

This year’s event, held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane, recognised the efforts of the sector during one of the most difficult periods in the industry’s history as every part of the sector dealt with enormous pressures posed by the pandemic.

The Stevenage project was completed a year ahead of schedule despite Covid-19 challenges. It included intense and time-critical work conducted over two “blockade” periods at Christmas 2019 and early January 2020 to modify the existing signalling power supply to increase capacity for the new railway line.

The work included installing five signalling posts, signal post telephones and engineering electrical supply points, while civil works involved carrying out essential construction works to the existing platform and installing a cable troughing route.

A new platform was installed with a passenger lift and stairs connecting to the station footbridge, and the new platform included a heated waiting room, external seating, ticket vending machine and barriers with a canopy, and train driver welfare facilities.

The improvements delivered by Spencer Group at Stevenage Station included this new platform with a passenger lift and stairs connecting into the existing station footbridge.

In total, 286,000 hours were spent working on the project by the Spencer Group team and the company’s sub-contractors.

Gary Thornton, Managing Director of Spencer Group, which delivers innovative engineering and construction solutions across the rail industry, said:

“We’re delighted to be recognised in these prestigious awards, together with our client Network Rail.

“An exceptionally high level of detailed planning and scheduling was required to deliver this project and it was made possible by flexible and collaborative working between ourselves, Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway, the supply chain and all the other stakeholders.

“This project helped deliver a safer, more reliable railway with greater capacity and efficiency. We’re delighted to work with our partners to improve the rail network and services for millions of passengers, by using our experience and expertise to complete projects of this calibre.”

From designing and building new platforms, to constructing whole stations and depots and improving and extending network capacity and reliability, Spencer Group has established an industry-wide reputation for the successful delivery of rail infrastructure projects.

Joe Bennett, Operations Director at Spencer Group, who led the Stevenage Turnback Project, said:

“We’re incredibly proud of our industry-leading capabilities on complex rail infrastructure schemes and this project is a prime example of our expertise and exceptional performance.

“Its success is testament to our team’s outstanding collaborative working with Network Rail and close partnerships with our specialist supply chain.”

The Infrastructure Achievement of the Year award was claimed by Great Western Railway for the Exeter Train Care Depot. Also Highly Commended were Network Rail, INVVU Consultants, Govia Thameslink Railway and BAM Nuttall for the Denmark Station Enhancement.

For more information on the National Rail Awards 2021 go to