Network Rail’s CP7 and UBI Shells as an ideal solution

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April 8, 2024

Network Rail, the authority managing Britain’s rail infrastructure, oversees an extensive array of assets critical to the nation’s transportation network. This includes over 2,500 stations, of which 443 are listed and 390 are over 120 years old, 100 Light Maintenance Depots (LMDs), 18,000 lineside buildings, and 750 Signal Boxes, covering a combined roof area of at least 7 million square meters. The unveiling of Control Period 7 (CP7) marks a strategic shift towards a more passenger-centric approach, underpinned by the ambition to enhance the sustainability, safety, and satisfaction of rail travel. In this article, we will take a deeper look at the CP7 and its initiatives.

Network Rail’s CP7 Objectives: The Significance of the 4S Framework

The 4S Framework supports Network Rail’s CP7, embodying a holistic approach to evolving Britain’s railway infrastructure to meet modern demands and expectations. This strategic foundation focuses on Sustainability, Satisfaction, Safety, and Stewardship, each representing a critical axis for development and improvement.

  • Sustainability: With the rail sector facing pressing environmental challenges, CP7 prioritizes reducing the ecological footprint. The startling energy consumption rates of MDUs—300% higher than average—and the mere 10% of stations achieving an EPC rating of B or above spotlight the urgent need for more sustainable practices and technologies across the network.
  • Satisfaction: Passenger satisfaction is paramount in Network Rail’s mission, with the state of station upkeep playing a crucial role in shaping the user experience. The current level of satisfaction, influenced by the condition and accessibility of stations, calls for significant enhancements. With franchised stations’ satisfaction at 73%, the need for improvements is clear. Elevating the passenger experience through better station maintenance and services is not merely a goal but a fundamental requirement to adapt to the changing needs of rail users.
  • Safety: CP7’s safety data points to a significant concern, with the Fatality Weighted Index (FWI) at stations vastly exceeding that on trains—54 equivalent fatalities (47 passenger and 7 workforce) per year at stations compared to a lower number on trains. Such a stark contrast underlines the urgent need for more comprehensive safety measures and protocols aimed at safeguarding both passengers and staff.
  • Stewardship: The condition of Network Rail’s assets, with 40% of MDUs and 50% of lineside buildings categorized as in poor condition, underscores the critical need for diligent asset management. CP7 aims to elevate the standard of stewardship, ensuring that infrastructure not only serves current needs efficiently but is also preserved and enhanced for future generations.

Through the 4S Framework, CP7 sets forth a vision of a railway network that is more responsive to environmental concerns, prioritizes user satisfaction, upholds the highest safety standards, and embraces responsible asset management. This comprehensive strategy aims to transform the UK’s rail system into a more sustainable, efficient, and passenger-focused network.

Setting goals for the 4S framework

By setting these targets, Network Rail commits to a transformative journey that aligns the rail network more closely with the evolving needs and expectations of its users and the broader community. Here’s a closer look at each target:

  • Sustainability: Aim to reduce the carbon and energy footprint across the network. This includes specific initiatives like:
    • Reducing building services energy consumption at Maintenance Delivery Units (MDUs) by a factor of 3.
    • Increasing the percentage of stations with an EPC rating of B or above from the current 10%, signaling a move towards more energy-efficient infrastructure.
  • Satisfaction: Elevate passenger satisfaction levels to at least 80%. Enhancements in station upkeep and accessibility are crucial, considering the current satisfaction level stands at 73%. This target involves a comprehensive review and improvement of station facilities, amenities, and overall passenger experience.
  • Safety: Decrease the Fatality Weighted Index by a minimum of 30%. With a stark contrast in safety performance between stations and trains, this goal focuses on implementing more robust safety measures, upgrading infrastructure, and promoting safer travel environments to protect passengers and staff.
  • Condition of MDUs and Lineside Buildings: Significantly improve the condition of these assets. With 40% of MDUs and 50% of lineside buildings currently in poor condition, CP7 aims to:
    • Reduce the percentage of MDUs in the poor category to 20%.
    • Lower the percentage of lineside buildings in the poor category to 25%.

Strategic Approaches to Achieving CP7 Objectives

Below is a detailed look at the strategic approaches integral to CP7 in improving the 4S metrics:

  • New Asset Creation: This strategy involves the deployment of cutting-edge solutions to not only extend the existing infrastructure but also introduce new functionalities that are in line with modern transportation needs. It includes:
    • The development and integration of digital technologies to enhance operational efficiency and passenger experience.
    • The construction of new rail lines, stations, and facilities that address gaps in the current network and anticipate future growth.
  • Condition-Driven Renewal: Renewal efforts under CP7 are strategically targeted, focusing on upgrading and refurbishing assets that are critical to safety, efficiency, and passenger satisfaction. This approach is characterized by:
    • Assessing assets based on their condition, usage, and importance to the rail network’s overall functionality.
    • Prioritizing projects that not only restore assets to their optimal state but also improve their resilience and adaptability to future challenges.
  • Maintenance Interventions: Routine and preventative maintenance is a cornerstone of CP7, ensuring that all assets across the rail network maintain their integrity and functionality. This includes:
    • Implementing advanced monitoring systems to predict maintenance needs before failures occur, thereby minimizing disruptions and extending asset lifespans.
    • Adopting sustainable practices in maintenance activities, reducing environmental impact while maintaining high standards of safety and performance.

Innovating Rail Infrastructure with UBI Shells

UBI Shells stand at the forefront of addressing CP7’s objectives by offering a unique retrofitting capability that significantly enhances rail infrastructure sustainability. This modern method of construction supports the rapid transformation of existing buildings, aligning with CP7’s sustainability and stewardship ambitions. By improving energy efficiency by up to 97%, UBI Shells contribute to the dramatic reduction of the operational carbon footprint across the rail network, aligning with the urgent need for environmental responsibility within the sector.

Moreover, the introduction of UBI Shells into Network Rail’s arsenal promises not just sustainability, but also remarkable cost-effectiveness, with potential savings reaching up to 93%. This financial efficiency, coupled with the method’s compliance with UK and European standards, ensures that Network Rail can meet its CP7 targets more effectively. The process from manufacturing to assembly spans a mere six weeks and without the use of heavy machinery, illustrating a commitment to minimizing service disruptions and expediting infrastructure enhancements. This approach exemplifies a strategic balance between rapid development and the broader goals of enhancing rail infrastructure for the future.

Conclusion

As Network Rail embarks on the ambitious journey outlined in CP7, the integration of UBI Shells offers a promising path towards achieving its goals. This innovative solution not only aligns with the 4S framework by enhancing sustainability, satisfaction, safety, and stewardship but also sets a precedent for future infrastructure projects. Through strategic planning, targeted improvements, and the adoption of cutting-edge technologies like UBI Shells, Network Rail is poised to transform the UK’s rail system into a model of efficiency and passenger-centric service for the 21st century.

Are you interested in learning if UBI Shell is the right solution for your railway infrastructure? Get in touch at info@ubi.eco today!

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