Transpennine Route Upgrade, West of Leeds Project W4, Entry into Service Package F


Spanning 76 miles between Manchester, Leeds, York, Selby and onward to Humberside, the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) is a £multi-billion-pound railway investment programme that aims to transform journeys for passengers.

TRU consists of three programmes: TRU West, Leeds Central and TRU East. The TRU West Alliance, are responsible for delivering the improvements between Manchester and Leeds, and is formed of Network Rail, Amey, Arup, BAM, Siemens and an ecosystem of 15 key supply chain partners, which includes D2 Rail. Project W4 between Dewsbury and Copley Hill comprises two distinct phases.

Phase 1 – Capacity increases including signalling recontrol via York Route Operating Centre, a new crossover at Batley, Morley Station relocation, local track renewals, and level crossing enhancements.

Phase 2 – Track and tunnel improvements to enable electrification.

The Key Challenge

The ultimate objective was to deliver Phase 1 using a mixture of Rules of the Route (RoTR) and Disruptive access including two 9-day Dewsbury to Leeds blockades between Autumn 2022 and Summer 2023.

Our Approach

To support the design and delivery of the project within railway access available, we selected experienced in-house programme management experts with a holistic understanding of how to deliver major infrastructure projects due to their extensive experience of the railway industry processes and stakeholders.

Our personnel, accounted for over 60% of the W4 Phase 1 Integration Team including a Senior Project Manager, Scheme Project Manager, Project Management Assistant, Construction Assurance Manager, and a Utilities Manager.

Benefits Realised

  • Excellent Stakeholder Management – We proactively engaged key stakeholders to bring everyone on the journey and maximise support for the works. Our robust external stakeholder analysis led to our production of periodic leaflets for lineside neighbours and targeted community events that afforded opportunities for the public to meet the team to find out more about the project.
  • Efficient Asset Management Plan (AMP) production– Collaborating, as a Single Point of Contact, with Network Rail’s Maintenance Teams, we produced the AMP well in advance of the blockade, holding regular Maintenance and Construction Team reviews to track the status of each discipline.
  • Delivering Work within Possessions (DWWP) assurance – By engaging with multiple parties/interfacing projects we ensured that deconfliction and all other prerequisites were completed prior to the commissioning blockade.
  • Entry Into Operational Service (EiS) – We used Power Bi to innovatively support the visualisation and decision making of key pre-blockade documentation or post commissioning requirements. PowerBi supported our EiS reviews, updates, and reporting.
  • Successful Commissioning – We supported right-first-time delivery and hand-back for a major signalling commission (9-day signalling recontroling), crossover commissioning, a new footbridge opened for use, track realignment, and new platforms at Morley Station entering into service in Summer 2023.

Why D2?

We have developed a strong industry-wide reputation for deploying experienced, multi-disciplined project management staff at every level. Our people adopt a holistic approach to collaboration, using client and supply chain experiences to successfully deliver major projects. Beyond this, we have a capability to deploy staff who can support complex major programmes, adding value by enabling us to seamlessly manage risk. These capabilities include planning and programme controls and reporting, risk management, common safety method, network operations, driver training, utilities management, and construction and engineering assurance management.

Challenges and Solutions

The very short timescale between our assignment to the project and the disruptive possessions and blockades meant that our project management team needed to quickly establish the DWWP operational readiness framework that would optimise the efficient use of possession time. We balanced this work against the risks associated with overrunning (not least of which were potential impacts on both the travelling public and freight movements). Leading the DWWP process we chaired Readiness Reviews from T-52 to T+4 weeks for multiple possessions and the 9-day blockade. In parallel with the Readiness Reviews, we chaired weekly reviews with discipline engineers and specialists to clearly communicate the data outputs to the Senior Leadership Team and peer reviewers.

Stakeholder Engagement and Management was critical to the success of the project. Prior to the blockade we attended Industry Readiness Reviews to collectively engage Network Operations and Maintenance teams and Train and Freight Operators. The reviews helped coordinate wider rail network activities during possessions. Working with the Design, Construction and Consents Teams we also gained local authority planning approvals and organised street works notices.

Collaborating with the wider W4 Project Team we assessed the works planned for the possessions, tracked the evolution of these activities, and led deconfliction workshops to support the Principal Contractor. Throughout this time, we positively challenged all parties planning to work within the possessions, to ensure all precursors were in place before works began at worksite and possession levels. We led Quantitative Schedule Risk Assessments (QSRA) on the hour-by-hour blockade schedule to identify and manage the risk of possession overrun, reporting status updates to Alliance and Network Rail senior managers.

To support communication, we produced critical Blockade Management Plans and Contingency Plans which provided the Construction Teams, Network Rail Operations and Maintenance with a single suite of reference documents covering the possessions and blockade.

In advance of the blockade, we established an EiS Control Room in Batley, integrating scheduled programme milestones with the in-person application and sign off of acceptance forms – centralising documentation storage and control. We also formed and managed the mission control team (MCT – also based in Batley) that tracked, reviewed, and updated the schedule in real time against planned and completed activities and decision points. The MCT produced 4-hourly reports to the Alliance at Silver and Bronze command levels and chaired daily industry conference calls and 12-hourly Alliance calls. During the blockade our project management team and Construction Assurance Manager arranged onsite AMP reviews to enable staged asset handover to the Route Asset Management or Maintenance Team. This smoothed the commissioning process and the hand-back of assets. This all culminated in being able to hand back all of our possessions and blockades on time with no delays.

The 9-Day blockade was split into two stages. The Batley crossover and demolition of an overbridge (within the interfacing Project W3 footprint) took place in the first 53 hours. After this the possession limits were reduced to allow trains to run into Batley Station and turn back.  The second stage accommodated the signalling recontrol saw, the footbridge opening, temporary level crossing closure, and platform demolition, drainage and track renewal/realignment, and new platform commissioning at Morley Station.

We produced the Project Authorisation Strategy defining requirements for Authorisation or Intermediate Statement of Verification under the Railway Interoperability Regulations in line with the Common Safety Method.  This allowed the project to evidence the following deliverables under the EiS checklist: Engineering Deliverables & Compliance Certificates, TSI-specific evidence, Maintenance/ TOC consultation where necessary, Safety Assessment Report, Declaration of Control of Risk, Interim Statement of Verification and Authorisation. This information was all required to support commissioning of the completed assets.

Working with Network Rail’s Communications and Community Relations Team we planned and issued periodic leaflet drops to lineside neighbours and held community events where members of the public could meet the project team to find out more and share any concerns. As the various assets became operational, we maintained an onsite presence to assist members of the public. We were also responsible for arranging VIP visits to the site by the Department for Transport or Industry stakeholders.

SAS 13 Bridge Reconstruction


Part of the On Network Works Programme (required to facilitate HS2 construction in Birmingham), SAS 13 was a £52M complex multidisciplinary bridge reconstruction project with HS2 as the Client. Managed by Network Rail, Skanska was the civils delivery partner with the Central Rail Systems Alliance (CRSA) delivering the rail systems scope.

The key challenges

The main on-site construction was planned to take place within a 23-day blockade, with several weekends of preparatory works prior to the main blockade. Eight weeks from the start of these works, Network Rail identified a shortfall in their Project Management resources, leaving question marks over the planning and execution of the delivery assurance processes.

Having worked with D2 personnel previously, Skanska, introduced us to Network Rail to help provide experienced project management resources with the knowledge and track-record of delivering large multi discipline railway projects.

Our approach

Working on Network Rail’s behalf, we deployed a Senior Project Manager (SPM) who rapidly integrated themselves into the Skanska and CRSA delivery teams.

Collaborating seamlessly with the delivery partners, our SPM quickly identified areas of the assurance process for Delivering Work Within Possessions (DWWP) that required attention. Calling on their extensive major project experience, they set up a robust Entry into Service process with buy-in from the Designated Project Engineer (DPE).

Realising that collaboration with stakeholders was a critical success factor, our SPM built strong relationships with HS2 and Network Rail Maintenance teams – securing their alignment with the hand back processes before works began.

Our SPM also ensured that all DWWP assurance process reviews and documentation, including blockade management plans, contingency and reporting, were in place in advance of the blockade.

In addition, they organised a full roster of Network Rail Project Management staff to cover 24-hour reporting during the both the weekend works and main blockade.

Benefits Realised

  • Successful Delivery of Construction Works – Demolition of the old bridge and installation of the new structure were delivered to programme and handed back on time with no impact to operational railway and zero accidents.
  • Robust DWWP Assurance – All DWWP assurance activities were successfully completed before construction began, including DWWP reviews, and the sign-off of all documents including blockade management plans, contingency plans, and communication plans.
  • Entry into Service (EIS) Completed prior to Hand Back – EIS tracker adapted and developed from previous best practice and reviewed in T- process prior to construction. Library and tracking of construction certificates to ensure efficient review and sign off with Infrastructure Manager.
  • Successful Hand Back of all Land to HS2 – On completion of construction works, due to the relationships that we had help build with HS2, we were able to progressively hand back land parcels to HS2 to facilitate the planned start of their works.

Why D2?

We have developed a strong industry-wide reputation being able to deploy experienced project management staff who have a proven track-record of successful major project delivery and who have direct Network Rail experience. This was a key deciding factor in Network Rail’s decision to accept Skanska’s suggestion that we could support the preparation and delivery of such a large multi-disciplinary project.

Challenges and Solutions

The most significant challenge was time. When D2 got involved, there were just eight weeks until the start of the 23-day blockade. This meant that our SPM had to get up to speed very quickly, complete a handover with the outgoing Project Manager, and build the relationships that were necessary to ensure all Network Rail assurance had been achieved to enable the blockade to begin. They also identified several areas that needed to be improved to maintain full compliance with the programme.

Our SPM arranged the DWWP reviews to include specific attendees and ensure a robust review model was in place including reviews of design status, key risks to the blockade and reviewing all resource / plant supply status. The outcome was that all assurances were in place to permit the blockade and that the blockade was delivered successfully.

Similarly, our SPM’s review of the blockade / possession document status identified gaps in the blockade management plans, contingency plans and communication plans (including reporting times / frequencies during the blockade). We addressed these gaps and ensured buy-in and sign-off by all the relevant stakeholder signatories, enabling the works to begin.

By converting a meeting room into a fully IT-enabled control room environment, our SPM created a hub where all blockade reporting staff from CRSA / Skanska and Network Rail could be co located for both the preparatory weekend possessions and the main blockade. This proved instrumental in creating a one team collaborative approach where everyone was bought into a common goal.

Displaying the schedules and site plans as visual reference points, the control room provided a fully immersive collaborative environment that enabled clear and aligned reporting upwards to senior teams within the respective organisations. Our SPM also established conference call facilities and invited the project team to morning and evening briefings where any issues were quickly resolved, avoiding delays and minimising risks.

Another challenge was the lack of an Entry into Service (EIS) process. From their previous experience of large multi-disciplinary projects, our SPM realised the importance of getting this process right and so developed an EIS tracker based on industry best practice. Going a step better than a simple EIS checklist, the tracker covered all the necessary engineering documents.

We established weekly T- meetings to review the status and production of design and construction certificates, along with a filing system to store certificates for easy reference during the blockade. This preparation resulted in an agile EIS process and enabled a seamless post-commissioning to sign off from the Infrastructure Manager, who gave very positive feedback testifying that the process made it easy for them to approve EIS.

Much of what was achieved would not have been possible without the formation of strong collaborative relationships in a very short timescale. Our SPM achieved this by co locating in Skanska’s offices full time and interfacing daily with CRSA. They also realised significant benefits by developing relationships with the local maintainer to ensure Asset Management Plan compliance, and with HS2 to manage the staged hand back of land and update them on progress. This was achieved through regular site stakeholder meetings to enable them to see project progress first hand and address any issues. This approach was key in successfully handing back of all land parcels to HS2 ahead of the planned strategic milestones in the project schedule – leading to very positive feedback from HS2.

“Dan came into the project eight weeks before the blockade into the Integration PM role supporting both Network Rail (NR) and Skanska. The NR team had limited resources and therefore were struggling in the preparation of the blockade. Dan supported NR and Skanska in the integration, DWWP process and blockade management to enable successful completion of the 23-day blockade”. – Keith Gardner, Skanska, Project Director

How D2 lives its ‘People’ values

What is D2’S approach to career development?

D2’s approach to professional and personal development is based on years of experience in cultivating all round, highly capable professionals. Thanks to the introduction of the D2 Career Path Framework, D2 are able to map out the professional theory and practical based experience required to seek development and progression within the organisation. For the practical side of development D2 have introduced the Competency framework, which defines what staff need to be able to do via business and functional competence per role. Through the competency assessment D2 can specifically target areas of development and provide their staff with the opportunities to gain valuable experience to develop both their own skills and the offering of D2.


Working alongside like-minded individuals who have a passion for challenging themselves, developing, and always learning is core to D2. The opportunity to work alongside professional mentors is something that can add huge value to professional development. In the following example D2’s Head of Programme Management Troy Lancaster supported D2 Project Manager Tom Mansbridge to develop and progress within the business in a short period of time through D2’s 121 mentoring programme.

Case Study – Tom Mansbridge

D2 knows it is only as good as its people and therefore ensures its people values is at the heart of everything it does. Tom Mansbridge is an example of how D2 has supported and developed one of its staff through both personal and professional development.

Originally from a banking and finance background Tom was leading teams early on in his career before moving into project management seven years ago where he has built his project career within the Rail and Utilities industries in both the private and public sectors.

Tom Joined D2 two years ago with the intention of finding likeminded individuals who were passionate about working on complex projects and expanding their knowledge globally. D2 has enabled Tom to accelerate his learning and development through working on major programmes such as the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU) and Metrolinx GO Expansion Program (Canada), in addition to providing the supporting career path and competency frameworks. This has enabled Tom to be promoted to Senior Project Manager within just 12 months. Most recently D2 have facilitated and supported Tom with the opportunity to relocate to Canada with his family, with the intention of supporting business growth across Canada and North America.

Professional Achievements 

D2 have supported Tom with his professional development in the following ways:

  • Support and mentorship throughout Tom’s master’s degree in project management – Finding colleagues who had studied to a high level with D2 helped Tom seek support and advice to complete his master’s degree.
  • Professional qualifications – as part of D2’s Project Management Career Path Framework D2 paid and supported Tom to obtain the Association for Project Management Project Professional Qualification (APM PPQ). This is a Level 5 qualification to demonstrate Tom has met the expectations of a Senior PM with D2.
  • International consultant – Tom’s success on TRU enabled him to interview for promotion to Senior Project Manager and apply a role in Canada as an International Consultant.
  • International Major Programmes experience – Tom is currently leading the development and implementation of a Canadian Project Delivery Readiness and assurance Standard for c.87 projects on the $50bn Metrolinx Go Expansion Program and supporting the Vice President of D2 Infrastructure in D2’s Canadian and North American Expansion.


  • Working as an international consultant on the Metrolinx Go Expansion Program – The world of project management consulting on a global scale can be a challenging one, as Tom found on his first day in the hybrid role of Lead Project Manager in Standards Development. Building new relationships and working in a different culture environment is a challenge for anyone working in a new team let alone a new team in a different country. With the help of his D2 mentor, Tom navigated the new environment efficiently and saw this and an opportunity to prove his capability. Since working on the program he has had some outstanding feedback from client leaders, project teams and colleagues within his 10 months in role.
  • Managing APM PPQ study and assessment around transition to Canada workstream – Completing a handover on a major piece of signalling enabling works on TRU is one thing, doing this while transitioning onto a new project in a different country along with completing one of the APM’s most difficult professional qualifications is another. Tom undertook his APM Project Professional Qualification while juggling major project deadlines. The exam involved countless evening and weekend studies to prepare for the three-parts that consisted of a Role Play Scenario, an Oral Exam, and a Written Report. D2 as a business supported him throughout providing flexibility, advice, and encouragement.
  • Relocating to Canada – the most recent challenge Tom has faced is undoubtedly relocation. To make this as easy as possible, D2 have provided outstanding support to move Tom and his family. This included but not limited to: arranging Visa’s, recommending Estate agents, and providing a relocation allowance to make the transition as smooth as possible. The next steps Tom intends to build on his experience in project consulting, client, and business management to support D2’s growth. Canada.

“Tom is a model example of someone who has embraced the opportunities within D2, to enable him to have a rapid progression in his career.” – Troy Lancaster, Head of Programme Management, D2.

Network Rail Structures Portfolio – Visual Inspections Optimisation

Problem Statement

Network Rail (NR) Eastern Region Buildings and Civils Route Engineering Team have circa 20,000 structures to examine and maintain from Newcastle to London on one of the most congested networks in the country. Logistical and resource challenges of maintaining a highly complex route, resulted in visual inspections of structures falling short of 400 per week required to maintain ORR compliance.

Due to a combination of specified tolerance-based inspection dates and reactive routing between examinations this was driving inefficient and unproductive working, increasing OPEX costs.

The NR Eastern Building and Civils team wanted support to proactively resolve the problem and identifying creative ways to improve the current output. This aligns with the SPEED principal which is at the core of Eastern Region.

Remit & summary of the D2 Solution

NR contacted D2 with the challenge of determining the optimal solution for NR’s Visual Examination regime and to produce a compliant & non-compliant transition plan vs. the 2022 dataset.

D2 established a multi-disciplinary team combining its rail industry Project Management experts with its Data Science team. The D2 team worked closely with the NR Examination team to clarify requirements, constraints and working practices.

D2 quickly identified that the problem to be solved was a logistical mathematical problem known as the ‘travelling salesman problem’ (TSP).

The TSP can theoretically be solved to determine the optimal solution using mathematical modelling. However, to find the fully optimized solution is extremely expensive in terms of computational power and time. To mitigate this, D2 developed an alternative probabilistic set of heuristic algorithms and created an optimization tool to calculate highly optimized solutions with significantly less computational power.

D2 built a front-end simple user interface to the optimisation tool to allow NR to easily visualise the efficiency and productivity improvements.
Benefits of D2’s Optimised Solution

Through the optimisation of Network Rail’s Visual Examinations, D2 enabled the following improvements:

  • Efficiencies / cost savings – 18.4% efficiency on overall inspection costs, equating to c£250k per annum.
  • Productivity – 37% improvement in examiner productivity, equating to an extra c2000hrs examination time vs. driving time per annum.
  • Compliance – a solution that enabled ORR compliance.
  • Health, Safety and Well-being – due to the optimised driving routes we dramatically reduced the travel times for Examiners thus lowering their fatigue and reducing their nights away from home.

Why D2?

D2’s unique position in the market as an agile SME with industry rail experts and a dedicated digital technology and data science team led NR’s Head of Asset Management from the Eastern Region to request our help in clearing a backlog of visual examinations.

Challenges & solutions

The most significant challenge that we faced was obtaining a complete set of data at the start of the project. The D2 team collaborated with NR Structures Team to collate the necessary data and make informed assumptions to enable an assumed baseline to be created. We collectively decided that the assumed baseline went straight to Phase 1 Optimisation which optimised allocation of assets to inspectors. The 18.4% efficiency and 37% productivity improvements was the improvement from Phase 1 to Phase 2 Optimisation (optimisation of examiner locations based on targeted recruitment). Hence, we expect the overall levels of optimisation from the true baseline to Phase 2 to be much higher than shown.

We needed to ensure that our solutions were based on actual working practices (which often differ subtly from prescribed procedures). To improve understanding of the challenges faced by the NR on-site teams, we shadowed NR’s Inspection teams over several days onsite which provide valuable insight that could be factored into the model.

The information captured from this exercise helped us to consider human factors when modelling the solutions. This resulted in outputs that were realistically achievable with minimal need for inspectors to change how they completed their work. A key example was average walking speed. We found that walking on ballast took on average, 50% longer than walking on normal highways conditions. So, we reduced baseline walking speed assumptions within the model to improve accuracy.

To produce the outputs needed to realise the required efficiencies, our Data Science experts constructed modelling algorithms that linked assets with access points, determined optimal base locations for inspectors, achieved manageable workload distributions, optimised travelling time, and set out realistic inspection dates.

There were several key assumptions that we either coded into the model as fixed or variable constraints. This enabled the client to specify which assets required track access and which assets had additional complexity. These variables could be manipulated via a simple front end user interface enabling NR to create their own bespoke scenarios. The user interface also enabled NR to easily visualise the efficiencies and productivity improvements presented by each scenario. To help NR we provided them with training on the system and provided them access to the tool for future use.
The outputs of our study included the optimal and utopia solutions, a compliant and non-compliant transition plan, a report, and a web-based user interface to the data analytics model. All were positively received and due to the level productivity and efficiency improvement highlighted; this generated a significant level of interest not only from the structural examination team but other NR teams such as the geotechnical team.

The next steps

To support NR, we provided a nine-point improvement plan ranging from short-term improvements such as reallocating members of their team to different geographical regions; to more long-term improvements such as targeted recruitment to enable optimal allocation of assets to examiners. A key recommendation was to continue to develop the D2 optimisation tool into a full planning tool so that it could not only deal with static datasets but so that it could also deal with dynamic datasets that adapt to the onsite changing environment. Once developed, this technology could easily be rolled out to other regions within NR to enable full optimisation of visual examinations on a national level.

Because the principles of the D2 optimisation tool have been built on optimising cyclical examinations for geographically spread assets, it can easily be applied and adapted to any routine-based activities such as maintenance. We are currently preparing to showcase the project to the NR Executive team to show them the benefits of translating the tool into a full planning tool; as well as exploring which other areas NR would like optimise. In the current economic climate where NR have limited budgets there has never been a better time to invest in technology to optimise working practices.