1.1 Project Background
Demand for rail transport over the last decade has increased by 30% (transport studies, 2003). Over the next ten years it is expected to rise from around 39 billion passengers' km a year to 52 billion. Over the same period freight demand is forecasted to rise from 19 billion net tonne km a year to 24 billion.
The national railways have been in the limelight for the past decade mostly for negative reasons. As events transpired at major intersections of the railway, Hatfield and Potters Bar, infrastructure was at fault. Subsequent media limelight raised shortcomings in the UK national infrastructure to international levels.
To avoid a repeat of such events, the need to plan and maintain infrastructure has never been more important. At the same time offering good customer service is paramount in ensuring that trains are running on a daily basis and on time.
At present, the capacity of the network has reached its limits and the surge of further passengers will result in problems in coping with this demand. The increase in usage of the infrastructure will result in faster wear and tear. This will lead to increased maintenance and renewal work to keep the infrastructure safe.
Carrying out engineering work will require access onto the network, which is done through planning of possession. This will be a hard task to undertake as the infrastructure can only be maintained when trains or not running and the increase in demand will require planning for engineering work to be efficient.
1.2 Project definition
Maintaining, renewing and enhancing the network can sometimes have negative, frustrating connotations for the travelling public; however this process has been and will continue to be a continuous, long lasting part of the industry, which clearly plays a vital role in...