TRU Health & Safety Files – Lessons Learnt Workshop

D2 Rail’s Information Management team support projects from initial set up to closeout and hand back. Information Management is a crucial element for the delivery of a successful project and provides future maintainers with clear guides to operate and maintain their assets long after a project has been delivered. 


At the end of each project our Information Management team host a lessons learnt workshop and go over how we can improve things going forward. We review what went well and what didn’t go well. The health and safety files are an area that sometimes can be left to the last minute and therefore not be compiled correctly or as efficiently as they should be. To combat this on all projects, our Information Management team host workshops at the beginning of a project to guide the team on the best possible process for managing their data. 

The Transpennie Route Upgrade West of Leeds team requested that our team run one of our lessons learnt workshops to their Health and Safety and Project Management teams to support the production of the project health and safety files.   

Challenges and Solutions

Some of the challenges faced when leading these lessons learnt workshops can be resistance to change. A number of the team felt more comfortable compiling the files as they have done previously. We also had some concerns about the data management system and how files then become approved and stored. After demonstrating how the process we were suggesting can actually save the team time and make it easier for the overall efforts put into delivering these files, we then looked at how we support the team further in setting this up. The solutions we came to looked at educating the team in the system and providing extensive guidance notes and point of contact for queries. We also covered workflow approvals processes, clear document deliverables matrices and early engagement with NRG (National Records Group). 


The benefits of providing the Transpire team with a lessons learnt mean they were able to follow a tried and tested process that will help them to efficiently deliver the hand back files for the project in a timely and secure way. In the process of educating the team in systems and approvals processes, we were further upskilling the team and in turn the rail industry as a whole. These documents are an integral part of the project programme and give the operators the information they need to maintain the railway and keep it safe for passengers and those who work along the route.  


“The D2 team were invaluable in this process previously on the Northern Hub project and were fundamental to any success experienced during the technical hand back process. Any lessons learnt from that time have been assessed, understood and have been adopted on the Transpire project to improve Information Management processes and general document and data control. The team continues to provide support and expert technical input which makes things much easier for the wider alliance team.”

Jordan Naylor 
Transpire Scheme Project Manager 

Northern Hub Health and Safety Files and Hand back

D2 Rail’s Information Management team have had extensive experience in data management throughout the entire project lifecycle. We support teams from set up to closeout and hand back. This information is crucial from start to finish, in order to deliver a successful project and provide future maintainers with clear guides on how they can operate and provide safe maintenance in the future.


D2 Rail’s Information Management team was asked to assist in co-ordinating the health and safety files for the Northern Hub Alliance. The commission required the team to help manage the document delivery matrix (DDM), provide guidance on common data environments, formatting, workflow and approvals, uploads, record compiling and NRG (National Records Group) agreement.

Challenges and Solutions

All files in relation to the health and safety files on the project had to be stored in a common data environment which was ProjectWise. Some of the challenges that D2 Rail faced were around the clients misunderstanding of the systems and how to use them, missing information, and a lack of electronic copies of files. There were also numerous client questions regarding the DDM and a lack of clarity as to what files were required. 

To resolve these issues, we called all teams involved to a briefing, so we could gain a clear understanding, decide on a way for forward and agree what was required from each discipline. Our Information Management team sent in technical queries to NRG and the Senior Management team – when we had some anomalies in requests – and continually made sure, everyone was clear on their responsibilities for delivery. We held regular catch up meetings to understand where the teams were in their process and provided training sessions for those who did not know how to use the system. Guidance notes for the system were issued out to all teams and included in the health and safety file process document, and all missing data was uploaded to the system and approved as required. 


The benefits of the solutions put in place and the support from D2 Rail’s Information Management team are shown through the delivery and acceptance from NRG and the NR project management team. The submissions were all transmitted within the system, with the correct approvals process and metadata. The training provided by the team within the system has not only upskilled the project team on Northern Hub Alliance, but it has also upskilled the rail industry, as they will take that knowledge on to future projects. 

At the end of the project, D2 Rail’s Information Management team ran a lessons’ learnt workshop, gathering all the best practice that had been put in place and looked at improvements that could be made in the future. D2 Rail will be sharing these lessons learnt on future projects, so they are able to put the right processes and procedures in place and create a more efficient way of delivering the health and safety files. 

Following, D2 Rail’s success on the Northern Hub, the Trans Pennine Route Upgrade West of Leeds team requested that D2 Rail share our lessons learnt workshops with their Health and Safety and Project Management teams to gain insight on what processes they should set up on the project for their health and safety files. The aim being to create a best practice approach for the compilation of health and safety files on that one and future projects. 


“The D2 Information Management team were a key resource that supported the delivery of GRIP 7 for Northern Hub Work Package A. Sarah Barnes and her team integrated themselves within the different Alliance partners and provided consistent support to the team with the production, management and technical input into the Health and Safety Files as well as providing the technical expertise with the production of as-built drawings.

“The hand back of Health and Safety Files and as-built drawings to NRG is a notoriously difficult process but the work done by the D2 IM team to streamline document control systems, educate the wider team on data management and champion CAD and workstation renditioning made the project’s GRIP 7 timescales achievable.

“The D2 team were invaluable in this process on Northern Hub and were fundamental to any success experience during the technical hand back process. Any lessons learnt from that time have been assessed, understood and have been adopted on Transpire to improve Information Management processes and general document and data control. The team continues to provide support and expert technical input which makes things much easier for the wider alliance team.”

Jordan Naylor
Northern Hub Project Manager 

Planning of route-wide survey delivery – Transpennine Route Upgrade

The Alliance engaged D2 Rail’s Planning team to coordinate and manage the various survey delivery programmes, which would help to inform the design deliverables across the route. This involved our team of Planners working with multiple supply chain partners to ensure the efficient coordination and progress of surveys.

These works were successful, enabling the TRU West of Leeds design team to progress the development of their proposals through the Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) process, which is how Network Rail manage and controls all projects that enhance or renew the national rail network.


The West of Leeds route is broken down into various sub-projects, each with its own design team at a different level of design maturity. The design teams provided D2 Rail with a multi-discipline survey scope tailored to their requirements.

Our initial task was to programme the survey scope. Based on the known access for each area, we used the average outputs and resource availability of the site teams for each individual survey type to forecast each site activity to completion. For each survey type there was a requirement for production of a report to communicate data collected on site to the design team, this process was also forecasted upon completion of site works.

A key part of the role was liaising with the supply chain partners delivering the works to support them with planning of site activities and production of reports. The programme was constantly evolving due to the many obstacles that are encountered when delivering work. D2 Rail were on hand to react to change and advise the best-for-programme options so the impact on design deliverables was minimalised.

D2 Rail’s Planning team also tracked the status of survey scope for each sub-project and provided metrics to the wider Alliance, as well as providing forecasts to assist with the bid process to secure the budgets required.

Challenges and Solutions

Track access restrictions

The main challenge we encountered was access restrictions. The standard ‘rules of the route’ possessions available on track did not allow us to consistently visit all areas of the route, and most often there was only 4 hours of time on track per shift for the teams to work with. On certain sections, we only had available to us Network Rail maintenance possessions, which were often very limited. We also had a number of branch lines which proved difficult to target.

To best plan for the restricted track access that was available, we had to work very closely with the Transpire access planners. This enabled us to clearly understand what was expected to be available to us throughout the year. We created easy-to-read summary sheets and distributed these out to the supply chain partners, so that they could get ahead with programming their works. We also hosted weekly construction meetings, where we ran through the programme for coming weeks as well as longer term plans for all working parties.

Third party access issues

Aside from track access, we have had major issues accessing 3rd party land to carry out several works across the route. There were instances where 3rd party access had been requested, and then not been granted some 12 months later. The nature of being granted 3rd party access is unpredictable, which meant forecasting 3rd party works within the programme accurately was difficult, and sometime required mobilising site teams on a relatively short notice basis.

In attempt to provide reasonable delivery dates for 3rd party works, D2 Rail took a conservative approach initially in programming the works, in order to manage the expectations of the design team. We liaised with the Network Rail’s integration team regularly, as they are tasked with securing access, which helped us to be able to react quickly to any impending developments with landowners.

High survey volume

Another challenge is the volume of surveys across the route. The programmes were at times very fluid and a challenge to keep up with. There were also various contractors feeding information to our Planning team on a weekly basis, so being organised was the key to keeping on track.

To deal with the volume of surveys involved, we put clear systems in place so that the supply chain partners delivered to us information in a format that was both simplified and satisfied the programme requirements. In addition to the regular construction meeting, we had sessions with the supply chain partners to talk through issues they were encountering and provided regular support with what they were doing to help translate this into successful site delivery.

Changing scope

We also encountered challenges with the changing scope of works, which evolves from the projects’ initial release. Close contact was maintained throughout with the design teams, including regular attendance at meetings, to discuss any problems encountered, any change within the programme and changes to scope.


Providing a clear process and support vehicle to the supply chain partners was vital in order to help coordinate long term planning within the various programmes – helping to supply clear deliverable dates that inform future design.

Close liaison with regards to Third Party access enabled us to avoid as many surprises as possible, giving ourselves the best possible chance to plan in advance of receiving permission to access a certain plot of land. Safety of the staff on site was critical, so detailed planning is a must, and with D2 Rail’s approach we support the safe mobilisation of teams to carry out works and progress the programme in line with the baseline.

A collaborative approach ensures a healthy working relationship, enabling the teams to pull in the same direction towards a common goal. Supply chain partners are key to the Alliance and strong connections have been built. Confident communication of problems encountered, as well as errors made, are displayed allowing early combined efforts to rectify issues in an open and positive manner.

Close contact with the design teams has meant as two separate teams working toward the same objectives, we understand the challenges that each other face. As a result, there are no unreasonable requests coming from either direction. This level of transparency between design and delivery teams ensures everybody is on the same page.


“The two planners from D2 Rail are an integral part of the Survey team. With an understanding of the work content and the constrained timescales, they sensibly apply a logic using historic outputs and access information to provide a robust and reliable programme.

“The Survey team would be lost without D2 Rail providing the guidance and forward planning required to achieve the work. They are not seen as D2 Rail, but as integrated Planners within the Survey team.”

Richie Atkins
Surveys Project Lead

Management of Statutory Utility Assets – TRU West of Leeds


As part of the Transpire Alliance, D2 Rail’s Utilities Management team was appointed in 2018 to oversee the management of statutory utility assets for the section of route between Manchester Victoria and Leeds. This was to ensure that all Statutory Undertakers’ apparatus was appropriately managed and coordinated in line with the projects programme and budget requirements.


As an organisation, D2 Rail have established a proven strategy to manage the utility works element for major infrastructure schemes such as TRU. This strategy is based on extensive project experience and lessons learnt and was implemented at an early stage to align with the deliverables set out as part of each GRIP/design stage.


The scale of the project covers approximately 57km of track, associated structures and stations. We are operating as part of a large multi-disciplinary team requiring a high number of key interfaces to be established. Stakeholder management and consents are also a key consideration given the requirement to submit a Transport & Works Act Order for a section of the route between Huddersfield and Dewsbury. All types of utility apparatus are affected, including strategic utilities such as electricity and gas transmission lines that require specialist processes and procedures.


D2 Rail’s Utilities Management team operate as the key point of liaison/contact between the project and utilities providers in order to achieve early engagement, collaborative working approach and clear lines of communication e.g. early interaction and liaison with the affected Highways Authorities is vital to ensure that works can be planned and co-ordinated alongside other regional construction works, in order to reduce the impact on the highway networks and users.

Providing advice and support through the GRIP stages in order to deliver the best commercial value. As the utility providers input increases, our Utilities Management team will challenge in terms of design, cost and delivery schedules. The utility companies input, and delivery is essential to the overall success of the scheme and these challenges will continue to be achieved through regular meetings and workshops to discuss all technical, logistical, programme and cost issues in detail.


By implementing the strategy, we have been able to identify, through early engagement and by adopting a collaborative approach with the Utility Providers and Highway Authorities, significant risks to the successful delivery of the TRU programme. These risks have been quantified and integrated in the delivery schedule, to ensure that the key milestone dates are achieved.


“The D2 Rail Utilities Management team have been part of the Transpire Alliance from an early stage, providing evidence of ‘lessons learned’ from other major programmes, that early engagement with the utility providers is a key enabler for project success. Due to the timescales and complexities of the various utility assets and processes, these activities are, in most cases, seen as critical path activities across the programme.

“The D2 Rail team have embedded themselves into the Alliance and play a vital role ensuring that the design and construction teams take cognisance of utilities within the design and construction methodology.

“The experience the team brings at this early GRIP/Design stage is invaluable and we are starting to see great examples of how the team have prevented the requirement for diversions, through engagement with the design and delivery teams, or have identified how we can minimise impact to schedule by undertaking upfront utility works.”

John Johnson
Senior Programme Manager -Transpire Alliance

Northern Hub Information Management and Training

The Ordsall Chord was an essential part of the Northern Hub programme of works linking Manchester Victoria Station with Manchester Piccadilly Station for the first time, using over 300 metres of new track. To complete this project, input from a multitude of disciplines and companies within the Alliance was required. 

All project information was stored within Bentley ProjectWise, allowing all involved to work from a Common Data Environment. D2 Rail’s Information Management team provided ProjectWise support and training to the Northern Hub Alliance from November 2016 onwards. This support included training sessions for all levels of use, production of training material, data cleansing and day to day support from the client’s office. 


D2 Rail’s Information Management team were based out of the Northern Hub Alliance site office, to enable the efficient response to queries with regards to ProjectWise use and setup and act as a point of contact for Network Rail, suppliers and sub-contractors. Being based in the Alliance office also gave the team an opportunity to identify problems and suggest where improvements could be made.

D2 Rail also provided multiple training sessions aimed at all levels within the Alliance teams, from basic day to day ProjectWise use through to Advanced Document Control training. Training material tailored to the specific roles within the Alliance was also produced to follow during the sessions and to refer back to afterwards. 

Challenges and Solutions

Some challenges were met in this role due to the strict control of access permissions and the number of users within the system. To maintain the prompt answering of queries and permission requests without loss of time, the team worked alongside the Network Rail BIM Manager to arrange the appropriate level of access, so the team could manage permissions across the Northern Hub central project areas, preventing a bottle neck of queries.

The process of data cleansing and migration also proved challenging. Tight deadlines meant that the work required prior to data migration had to be completed in a very short amount of time, which included sifting through thousands of file’s metadata and correcting any errors which may cause issues later in the project. The team were able to complete this task on time by streamlining the process for data cleansing and setting up procedures for bulk amending system attributes. 


The team have greatly benefitted from being involved with the Northern Hub Alliance and have gained a wealth of experience in ProjectWise setup and administration, as well as being able to provide solutions for day to day issues found in the system. Being present in the Client’s office also allowed the team to build relationships within the Alliance and allowed the D2 Rail Information Management team to become a single point of contact for ProjectWise and Document Control queries.

Lessons Learnt

Future works will benefit from the knowledge the team have gained from this project, ensuring training is applied early in the project lifecycle and procedures and processes are set in the initial stages. 


The Information Management team have received some fantastic feedback for both training and ProjectWise support:

“Great training, well delivered and very useful. Am using it already.” Project Engineer, Network Rail

“Trainer was extremely knowledgeable, every question asked was answered and demonstrated, the paper guide has been invaluable and plays an important part in my job.” PIC, Mott MacDonald

“A very useful and not timewasting learning experience.”  PIC, Tony Gee

Track Renewal Animation – Coventry Nuckle


In support of their tender submission, TXM Rail commissioned D2 Rail’s Visualisations team to produce a construction sequence Animation, showing the methodology required to deliver the Coventry Nuckle Project. Our Visualisations team approached this with a combined use of Animation and Gaming software, to create the final video.


The Scope for our Visualisations team was to provide an Animation to support the renewal works for the Coventry Nuckle tender submission. The Animation comprised of 4 Key areas, with pre works to be included at a less detailed level.

The pre works included, the installation of compound, the removal of siding 3 track, the renewal of the Neck Shunt, the installation of the head shunt and the installation of the new platform 5. All of the pre works were Animated in an indicative format, with no plant movements being displayed, as this was not critical to the project. The installation of the compounds and new platform 5 were displayed as the constructed build dropped into position, with all track works being Animated in accordance with TXM’s installation process, excluding all plant, with added particle effects to demonstrate the burning of the rails.

Area 1 to 4 was the significant part of the Animation, with track renewals taking place in these areas. The renewal process for all Areas had the following procedure:

  • Burning of the tracks
  • Removal of sleepers and tracks in 6m sections
  • Excavation of area
  • Re-Ballasting of area
  • Switches & Crossings (S&C) installation using PEM LEMs
  • Plain line track install
  • Top ballast
  • Tamping

The Animation of these works showed plant movements, with an initial detailed Animation of the first routine.

Challenges and Solutions

The main challenge on this project was the scale of the Animation. A typical Animation request covers a single renewal. This project involved the single largest Animation D2 Rail had undertaken, as it consisted of a total of 9 separate Animations (5 Indicative Animations and 4 Renewal Animations), which needed to be Animated in detail in line with the programme.

To overcome the complexity of this Animation, we needed to target 2 main criteria; how to manage the amount of Animation that needed to be provided and the complexity of such a large programme.

To manage the amount of Animation required, we split the project in to its sub-areas, which were then condensed to component Animations. These component Animations, were then divided for each area. This gave us the ability to review and update these without a large knock on effect to the whole area Animation, streamlining the workflow, allowing it to pass from the Animation team, to the gaming environment team and finally to post production.

The understanding of the programme was the second issue on the projects complexity. For this, we used a technique that has been proven before on previous projects. The lead Planner from TXM provided the team with video recordings showing the plant movements. These videos were a run through of the programme, with markers being moved up and down a printed line diagram.

A further challenge, was one that we made for ourselves. As a business, D2 Rail strives to deliver the highest quality product. To do so, we reviewed our current processes and decided to adopt techniques used in the gaming industry.

By adopting the software platforms used for generating PC Games, we were able to bring the scene environment to life. This is something rarely considered. By introducing a more realistic environment and lighting package, we were able to showcase the Animation visuals, emulating today’s high-end visual media.


D2’s Visualisations team provided multiple benefits across a myriad of project stakeholders. With regards to construction sequencing, the Animation brought the programme to life. For the Planners, it provided a method to understand any potential issues with the programme and highlighted plant clashes, which can easily become lost within a traditional programme. For all other departments, it provided clear insight into the programme, without the need to decipher a Gantt Chart.

It additionally provided a platform for both the General Public and end user to view the proposal. For the end user, it provided confidence in TXM’s deliverables and for the Public, it removed over complicated engineering with a simple visual, allowing the information to be relayed in a format that was much easier to understand.


“We worked very closely with D2 Rail on the production of an Animation for a tender we were working on. We have worked with D2 previously and knew that they could Animate our vision for the delivery methodology and really capture how we would plan to deliver the works. We had a strategy session with the team discussing areas of sites we would want to Animate, the types and number of plant vehicles we would require and the key focus points which we’d like to get across with the Animation. We then put together a strategy document detailing the staging of the works and D2 produced the Animation.

“The attention to detail throughout the works was excellent. The D2 team would have regular conference calls at each stage to ensure that what was being produced was in line with the requirements. The final product was of exceptional quality and showed perfectly how we would deliver the project.”

Fin Gregory
Project Manager

Manchester Airport 4th Platform


Our Utilities team were contacted by Network Rail, who having made the decision to bring forward the proposed 2018 completion date for the fourth platform at Manchester Airport railway station, would require our expertise to manage and co-ordinate the diversion of utilities.

The fourth railway platform at Manchester Airport was an upgrade – which allowed extra services to call at the Airport and provide passengers with better access from across the North of England – all as part of the Northern Hub, a £1bn investment for the railway in the North.

Network Rail’s decision combined the ongoing works being undertaken to construct the Metrolink line to the station within this project, in order to take advantage of the access opportunities already established.


Phase One of the works was to be undertaken by the Metrolink contractor M_Pact Thales which included the construction of the fourth platform and the rebuilding of Outwood Lane bridge, in order to remove the existing abutment and provide a span over the third and fourth lines and the new tram link. Our scope was to manage and coordinate the utility diversions on to a temporary structure in order to facilitate the construction of the new bridge span.

Challenges and Solutions

Using historical programme data from M_Pact Thales who had undertaken the same task to construct the Metrolink bridge over Outwood Lane, the temporary utility diversions activity had a duration of twelve months. The first key milestone date was the blockade on platform three which was scheduled for Easter 2014, including a road closure on Outwood Lane impacting the main airport access off the motorway network. This gave the project a challenge of reducing the duration of the programme by 25% to nine months at one of the main transport hubs in the North West of England.

At this stage, we had C3 budget estimates only, so standard durations set out under the New Roads and Street Works Act meant that we needed to find a solution that reduced the durations, in order to achieve the milestone date for Easter 2014. At the first meeting with the Utility Companies and Stakeholders, it was recognised that the main challenge would be the delivery phase.

The solution was for one Utility Company to take the lead (Electricity North West) by returning the C4 estimate early to enable procurement to commence, so that a start on site date of September 2013 could be achieved. Working closely with stakeholders, Transport for Greater Manchester and Manchester Airport Group it was agreed that at this key location it would benefit from having one site in order to reduce disruption and minimise traffic management impact. The advantages of this solution meant that more than one Utility Company could be present on site. Through this coordinated approach the programme was completed in six months, a 50% reduction from the estimated target.


The benefits received from this project include understanding what can be achieved by setting up a joint working group between all participants in order to achieve challenging targets. Our approach and the key to successful delivery is to engage early, in order to understand issues and risks that third parties such as the Utility Companies are faced with, due to the impact of infrastructure schemes on their networks.

By adopting a collaborative approach through the design and planning stage with the Utility Companies and Stakeholders which included several workshops, we have now established this process on subsequent projects and now forms parts of our written strategy from the outset.


“I wanted to thank you for your considerable efforts on the utility diversions at Outwood Lane. I am very conscious that the timescales you were working to were extremely challenging and without your expertise, the utility diversions would not have been completed in such a compressed timeframe. As such you have played an absolutely vital role in ensuring that the advanced civils works for the fourth platform, were successfully completed in the three-week blockade.”

Mike Heywood
Programme Manager -Northern Hub.

Earned Value Management – Northern Hub


The Northern Hub Alliance made a commitment to utilise Earned Value Management (EVM) across the Northern Hub programme as a tool to track performance; to identify issues; and to inform decision making. D2 Rail’s Project Controls team were engaged to provide a full suite of EVM services in order to monitor project performance, based upon our staff’s highly regarded approach to planning, cost collection and progress measurement.

The project was at the very heart of Network Rail’s £1bn+ Northern Powerhouse to improve travel in the North. It is the biggest transport project in the North of England for decades and saw the construction of a new rail viaduct which, for the first time in history, provides a direct link between Manchester’s three mainline stations (Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria). The project spanned the boundary between Manchester and Salford, passing through the area of the first passenger railway station in the world, on Liverpool Road. The urban areas are being redeveloped, creating open and attractive spaces for the public to enjoy. It aims to improve connectivity across towns and cities by creating new direct links to Manchester Airport. It has facilitated a step change in the level of train services operating on the network, increasing capacity for passengers by providing a faster and more frequent train service.


Our Project Controls scope was to provide a full-service implementation of an Earned Value Management System (EVMS), including requirements specification; system design and build; administration and maintenance; and user training.

Challenges and Solutions

EVM can require a step-change in how project data is collected and monitored and any implementation can expect to face a degree of inertia. Our biggest challenge was the variable level of knowledge and experience of EVM within the Alliance team. Failure to understand the benefits of adopting EVM, due to a lack of knowledge or a poor previous experience, led to a reluctance to engage from some Alliance members. This slowed down the implementation phase and put increasing pressure to deliver a tangible output as quickly as possible.

In order to solve this, D2 Rail held a series of workshops with the Alliance Participants to determine EV capability; and to develop relationships with the key stakeholders. We provided lunchtime learning sessions to upskill the wider team with general EV training, as well as more tailored sessions with the main contributors (planning and commercial teams). We also ran a pilot project as proof of concept to demonstrate outputs and benefits.


The EVMS implementation provided several benefits for the client, including:

  • Single source of data – consolidated data source integrating cost, schedule and progress data for all Alliance Partners, allowing roll-up/drill-down and cross interrogation;
  • Verifiable status reports – robust data management processes to ensure reliability of outputs;
  • Objective analysis – identification of performance issues; trends; and forecasting using standardised metrics, to inform management decisions/corrective action;
  • Management by Exception – structured approach enables management effort to be focussed on those areas that need it most;
  • Stakeholder confidence – visibility of quality reports within the Alliance; Alliance Participants & parent companies; client organisation; and other external stakeholders; and
  • Recognition and Reputation – the EVM outputs garnered praise from several external parties and furthered the reputation of the project/Alliance within the industry.

Lessons Learnt

This project provided a number of lessons learnt for the Alliance team, including:

  • A dedicated central team – investment in resources and a showing commitment to EVM;
  • Management ‘buy in’ – setting up and engagement takes time and requires management support, from the top down, to reinforce commitment to EVA and resolve conflicts;
  • Early Engagement – early involvement with key stakeholders is essential; and
  • EV capability – upskilling the team with general EV training and project specific training sessions.


“D2 Rail were integral to the successful development and implementation of Earned Value Management tools and techniques for the Northern Hub Alliance. Working collaboratively from the outset, D2 Rail helped define the system requirements with the Alliance team and were able to tailor the solution to exactly what was required. They sourced the required cost and schedule data; configured the Earned Value Management System and set up bespoke reporting outputs to enable effective decision making for the Alliance throughout the project lifecycle. A job well done.”

Tom Bright
Network Rail

Signal Sighting – Crossrail West


While working on the Crossrail project, it was remitted that the production of Signal Sighting material was to be produced to support the Signal Sighting process and provide Driving Training videos.


D2 Rail’s scope was to provide 3D model data to support the delivery of Signal Sighting throughout all stages of the project. Our BIM team had to follow a series of steps to convert the engineering design models, into a usable federated model for each stage of the project.

To begin, our team obtained the GRIP 5 Design models from the Common Data Environment (CDE) which in this case was ProjectWise. These models where then stripped down to a more functional form. This was done to ensure the Sighting process ran smoothly, as large model files can create run time speed issues. Additional environmental modelling was also required, as this was not part of the projects design remit, however, would be required in the use of Signal Sighting – as external environmental factors play a key role.

From here the models needed to be separated in to staged models for each blockade of work. These blockades ran each Easter and Christmas. The last stage of the model modifications was to export the staged models to an .fbx format, which could be imported into external signal sighting software.

With the individual staged model now formatted to be utilised by the signal sighting software, federated models for each blockade of work now needed to be generated. To control the creation of these staged federated models, a register was required to filter the results and identify which models files would be required.

From this the register, a list of model files would be identified for the desired blockade date and output into a document. This document was imported in to the Signal Sighting software and used to call upon the 3D models.

This register was also used to generate a federated model in the native MicroStation format and used as a review tool for the CAD team to ensure the sighting models passed Quality Control before being processed for Signal Sighting. Advancements were made to this register to automate the creation of these MicroStation federated models.

Challenges and Solutions

The main challenge on this project where the continuous updates to model data and the programme. As the Sighting process takes place throughout the project lifecycle, designs and programmes evolve and change and as such so must the data within the Signal Sighting model.

To overcome the changing designs throughout the project, it was decided that weekly reviews would take place, in which the asset data of models within Common Data Environment would be reviewed, to check for updates. If an update had been made to a model, then this was recorded and listed for update within the Signal Sighting Model.

It was also fundamental that models were split into staged designs, due to signal sighting reviews taking place at pre-defined points within the project.

D2 Rail split the models into staged versions of the original design. As and when updates came in from the programme, the team would have to react to these and modify the staged model files accordingly.

Finally, as there where such large quantities of model data after each model had been separated in to it staged version, control over a register would be key to ensure federated models could be constructed with the right model data.

The BIM team created a register to maintain control over the staged models. Originally this was put in place as a standard model register, which held additional data that aligned with the programme. This programme alignment allowed the register to be filtered to produce a list, which informed the list of models required to generate a federated model.

The register quickly evolved and added an automated system to the construction of the Federated Models. This occurred by including ProjectWise links to the register and adding in Visual Basic coding to the register. After filtering the register, the results could be exported in to a MicroStation file, which in turn would automatically reference in the required models from the Common Data Environment, building a staged federated model.

Document Controller Training


D2 Rail’s Information Management team was approached to provide training sessions and training material on the projects currently in progress in the Rail department of WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff, Manchester.


Our Information Management team worked from the WSP PB offices to create bespoke training material, tailored to the processes and procedures required for individual projects. The projects included Northern Hub Central, Blackpool Depot, Crossrail, East West Rail, High Speed Two (HS2), Macclesfield Resignalling and Great Western Electrification Programme (GWEP). Introductory basic training sessions were completed from the client’s office followed by advanced Document Controller training, which covered project specific versions of Bentley ProjectWise, ProjectWise Administrator, Bentley Enterprise Bridge (eB) and Opentext Content Server.

Challenges and Solutions

The Information Management team faced some challenges, due to the range of projects and systems in place. This meant that the training material for each project had to be very carefully produced, as what applied to one project or system did not necessarily apply to another. To maintain the highest quality for all deliverables, standard training material was produced from the beginning of the works, which allowed each project to be amended as required from a shared source. This meant that all materials followed a common setup and were easy for the client to navigate between projects.

D2 Rail’s Information Management team also found the project timeframe to be challenging, due to the client’s submission deadlines. However, the team worked flexibly around these deadlines and quickly tailored training sessions to suit the upcoming submissions and knowledge required for them.


D2 Rail provided training for this this project for both beginners and advanced users, through the production of clear and precise training material. This knowledge and experience can be taken forward to all new projects. D2 Rail were also asked to return to WSP to provide further training to their engineering teams, proving the success of the project.


“D2 Rail have provided us with a very professional service. By understanding of our organisations specific requirements, their trainer, Rebecca Pratt carefully prepared a syllabus and tailored the classes to suit users at all levels of competence, whilst providing support after the sessions for further questions and guidance. Her training covered 4 different Document Management systems in use on over 7 different projects. The results of the training has proved to be extremely beneficial to the immediate teams, so much so that we requested a second round of training the following month to include the wider project teams. I would highly recommend D2 Rail, their training sessions are engaging and the course materials are a step by step guide to avoid any confusion. All in all an extremely valuable learning experience for our teams.”

Graham Hutt
BIM Manager

Liverpool Lime Street Re-Modelling Project


The Liverpool Lime Street Re-Modelling and Edge Hill Re-Control project was a condition led renewal and re-control project. It replaced life expired signalling and track lineside assets and signal boxes. In addition, the existing track layout was remodelled to meet the future increase in timetabled passenger train movements and requirement for longer platforms.

D2 Rail was commissioned to provide Information Management support to this logistically complicated project. We joined the DPE (Designated Project Engineer) team from Network Rail to ensure that clarity, compliance and close-out of information was fully achieved across the works, allowing all suppliers to deliver.

The £140m transformation of Liverpool Lime Street was completed on time and to budget, with the final stage taking place on Sunday 14 October 2018. Two brand new platforms were built and are in full use, and all others were remodelled, widened and/or lengthened.

An extensive signalling upgrade was also completed to allow more trains to run in and out of the station, more reliably. Signalling control was successfully moved over to a centrally-operated Manchester Rail Operating Centre in July 2018. This now provides more reliable journeys for passengers, allowing faster decision making on the railway to minimise delays.

The project commenced in December 2016 with the majority of the work being delivered over two key phases; 30 September – 22 October 2017 and 2 June – 30 July 2018. This included:

  • A 5,000 strong workforce that completed over 1 million hours
  • 4.7km of track upgraded
  • 26,000 tonnes of new ballast (railway foundation stone) installed
  • 75 engineering trains used
  • 11km of new overhead line wiring installed
  • 25 new signals installed
  • 65 new overhead line structures installed

Liverpool Lime Street Re-Modelling was a ‘hub and spoke’ style project, which meant many different engineering companies and disciplines fed into one central co-ordinating team to manage the delivery of the works.


The aim during the life of the project was to provide clear and concise reporting, tracking and management of actions and requirements of the project to support the core project team to effectively co-ordinate the suppliers and deliver the works.

This included scope to innovate processes and streamline information where necessary, to improve the communication and management of information across the project and produce more effective close-outs of actions.

Challenges and Solutions

With the contribution of multiple suppliers and engineering disciplines feeding into the project, there was a lack of standardisation and process control with regards to the flow of information. The processes that were being followed in the early stages of the project were reviewed, amended and then controlled. We outlined a clear and simple strategy to achieve uniformity across the project, whilst providing support to all contributors to ensure that this was achieved.

As the construction element of the project was logistically complex, assuring that all the design and safety requirements were fulfilled was a key to the safe and timely delivery of the project. Creating and maintaining a framework to manage the overview of these requirements made for a clear and concise understanding of the progress of the project enabling quick and effective reporting of outstanding issues and works.


There is a trend towards over complicating the issue, especially as Document Management systems such as ProjectWise, can provide so much information about stored documentation from the current life cycle throughout its history.

Through simplifying and streamlining, we were able to declutter the information, which allowed us to get to the heart of all issues and resolve them more effectively. By imposing a clear framework of uniformity and compliance across the project, a clearer and more concise presentation of information could be achieved.


“Rebecca Mercer worked on the Liverpool Lime Street Re-Modelling Project as a Technical Clerk and Projectwise Specialist throughout GRIP 5-8. She was an integral part of the Engineering Management Team; taking minutes in IDCs, inputting Signal Sighting data, assisting with Entry into Service files and administrating the collection of electronic signatures on IDC certificates to name just a few of her responsibilities. She quickly became the ‘go-to’ person for all Projectwise queries. Rebecca is a true team player, she has a ‘can-do’ attitude, is willing to take on new tasks and has a friendly but professional demeanour. I would love to work with Rebecca again in the future.”

Claire Hulstone
Project Delivery Engineering Manager
Network Rail