The power to deliver operation and maintenance

The rail industry has turned its attention to the UK’s next major tranche of high speed rail infrastructure investment. Now is the time to ensure that the long-term management of the assets are considered during initial design to emulate the success of High Speed 1.

In order for the next generation of high speed rail in the UK to achieve the success the public will demand, the assets cannot be designed and built in isolation of future operation and maintenance. To achieve significant performance improvements and considerable cost savings in a capital-intensive industry such as railways, whole-of-life asset stewardship must be placed at the heart of the design phase.

We’re the asset steward for the traction and non-traction electrical assets on High Speed 1. We designed, financed, built and commissioned the original assets and now own, operate, maintain, renew and replace the assets as steward for the next 50 years.

Our expert high voltage engineers undertake routine and reactive maintenance of clients’ electrical distribution networks across the UK. We are responsible for ensuring that the networks of some of the UK’s most crucial infrastructure, such as railways, airports, defence facilities, and power generation plants, are safely operated, maintained and fit for purpose. 

The challenge set at the beginning of the High Speed 1 project was to incorporate a whole-of-life approach to design, operation and maintenance of the power systems. This approach enabled scenarios for the power systems to be tested, allowing design reviews of the original specifications.

The value of this approach was proven early, with an examination of possible changes to the original specifications. This led to a reduction in the number of National Grid independent feeder stations from four to three, which contributed not only a significant reduction in the initial capital cost, but also in the whole-of-life cost of the network. This approach also delivered significant taxpayer savings. The design reconfiguration effectively saved the total cost of a fourth feeder and subsequent maintenance costs. There have also been savings across land-purchase and planning, staffing, insurance and asset replacement.

Testing and improving the design, specification and quality has led to reduced maintenance, inspections and servicing once the power systems were commissioned. This has meant fewer component failures, replacements and renewals and has lowered the costs of delays, rebates and penalties. 

We believe asset stewardship standards and processes are necessary to ensure the integrity, performance, reliability and management of the assets’ condition, which drives optimum use of the asset in a whole-of-life context. As an ISO 55001 accredited business, clients trust that we conduct this work to the industry’s highest standards for asset management.

For High Speed 1's power assets, the result has been a considerable cost-saving whilst still providing network availability over 99.99% for 10 years continuously, and an outstanding safety performance of eight years without a Lost Time Injury. This has made a significant contribution to the success of High Speed 1’s reputation as the most reliable railway in Europe.

A resilient electricity network is crucial to your business operation, but this doesn’t mean it should be your sole focus. Trusting an experienced industry expert to operate and maintain your energy infrastructure assets enables you to concentrate on your core business and deliver a great experience for your own customers. Whether it’s looking after an established network or advising on a new network, our operation and maintenance capability will help unlock the potential of your energy infrastructure.