Crossrail 2

Nichols has been helping Transport for London (TfL) build certainty and confidence in Crossrail 2 to ensure its success since 2015.  Crossrail 2 is a vital infrastructure project, critical to London’s status as a leading global city.  Building this new railway will deliver essential regeneration in addition to improving the transport system.  Crossrail 2 will support 200,000 jobs, trigger the development of 200,000 new homes across the region and increase London’s rail capacity by 10%.

Crossrail 2 is twice the size of Crossrail 1 with 76km of tunnels under the capital, and will connect Surrey via Wimbledon in the South West, to Hertfordshire via Tottenham in the North East.  A newly tunnelled central section will increase capacity and improve connectivity on London’s underground network, this improved connectivity will drive regeneration to create employment, business growth and housing.

The project, currently in the development stage, must overcome many challenges in order to proceed successfully.  It must be affordable and financeable, securing the best funding to deliver Value for Money.  Development and regeneration are at the heart of the programme – it must unlock housing potential, creating vibrant places for communities and businesses whilst ensuring the best route is selected through existing complex transport systems.  Crossrail 2 needs to ensure that there will be sufficient market capacity to deliver the required outcomes alongside other critical infrastructure programmes such as High Speed 2.

Development was paused in 2020 due to funding challenges arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.  However, the long term need for the railway remains as London continues to grow and make a critical contribution to the national economy.

Nichols successfully supported the development and updates of the Strategic Outline Business Case and helped to develop the project to an appropriate stage prior to authorisation of the next phase.  We were instrumental in the development of both the Management Case and Commercial Case and brokered agreements between TfL, Network Rail and the Department for Transport, to support the governance function, shaping ways of working, key processes and roles and responsibilities.

Integrating seamlessly with TfL’s dedicated Crossrail 2 client team, Nichols provided strategic advice and leadership and mentored the client team in procurement, contract management and assurance.  This included implementing the most appropriate level of project controls for this stage of the programme such as primary responsibility for baseline management, schedule management and change control.

We led the creation of the strategic programme and budget that underpinned the successful application for £160m development phase funding and prepared the annual project business plans within an uncertain and constantly changing project context.  We contributed to a strategic cost management strategy which described how benchmarking, value management, value engineering and innovation would be applied throughout the project lifecycle.

Improving connectivity to drive regeneration

Nichols established the planning function and were instrumental in developing a collaborative approach to the development and management of the project’s integrated construction schedule as well as developing the detailed plan for the submission of a Hybrid Bill and the outline plan for the pre-delivery stage.  Nichols were appointed to the client’s cost risk and schedule expert review assurance group and undertook a major exercise benchmarking the Crossrail 2 construction rates against the Elizabeth Line actual rates.

Nichols collaborative approach has enhanced the planning on this project, helping TfL gain £160m development funding, whilst maintaining the required agility to respond to events driven by the changing political environment.

By engaging with multiple stakeholders we have been able to gain consensus on principles and resolve areas of uncertainty.  For all deliverables, our lean approach has allowed a clear focus, providing direction on next steps, and demonstrating a trajectory to a successful and affordable project.

Prior to the project being paused, Nichols led the creation of an innovative information portal to capture the history and status of the project and a framework to enable future teams to build on the extensive development work undertaken – leaving a significant legacy for the project in the future.


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