Nichols has been working with Crossrail for 32 years. Our unique expertise and experience in all aspects of strategy and programme management has helped guide this transformational concept from vision to reality. When it opens, Crossrail will be a world class railway increasing London’s rail capacity by 10% and so transforming the lives of millions.

Crossrail is one of the most complex infrastructure programmes in the world, connecting contemporary and historic transport systems to deliver a railway that meets the needs of London today and for the future. This £14.8bn railway construction programme will provide a high-frequency passenger service linking Reading and Heathrow in the west to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east via central London.

In 2009, following Royal Assent, Crossrail appointed Transcend, a joint venture between Nichols, AECOM and CH2M Hill as their Programme Partner. In this role we act as strategic adviser and an extension of the client’s team. We bring world class professionals with expertise in all aspects of programme management, helping Crossrail to deliver the new railway successfully, on time and within budget.


Nichols’ experience on Crossrail is unique, having been involved throughout the development and delivery lifecycle of this iconic programme. Our role within the Programme Partner has helped Crossrail create a strong Integrated Programme Team.

Here we have selected a few of our contributions, illustrating the strategic nature of the engagements we have fulfilled and the success they have brought.

Nichols developed a framework for managing compliance with parliamentary commitments and establishing processes for stakeholder engagement. We contributed to design of programme controls, including schedule integration, risk and change management, assurance, and reporting. We led the creation of an integrated risk model aligned with key programme milestones, covering all strategic and programme risks necessary to deliver a safe railway.

We established the initial control baseline and successfully steered the programme through the Sponsor Review Points.

We brought our insight and collaborative approach to managing design and engineering contracts on tunnelling and depot contracts, gaining the agreement of affected stakeholders. We were responsible for the award winning Rolling Stock and Depot procurement activities including development of tender documentation and bid evaluation.

Leading up to the completion of tunnelling in 2015, Nichols designed and led a comprehensive review of the schedule baseline to provide assurance that Crossrail would be delivered successfully. The resulting Master Operational Handover Schedule became a tool for integration with input from all delivery partners and executive approval.

Nichols holds key roles managing transition from delivery to operations, including systems integration; development of staged testing and commissioning; and revising programme governance to address commissioning challenges.

Nichols led the design, implementation and delivery of Crossrail’s exciting, cutting edge innovation programme. The Innovation platform provides a safe environment for Crossrail and its supply chain to collaborate, develop and share fresh ideas and solutions, improving the way we achieve Crossrail’s ambitions while mitigating risk and maximising opportunity.

Creating a world class railway

Crossrail successfully passed all review points and its budget was confirmed as part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, allowing it to begin full-scale implementation.

We have made a significant contribution in establishing a culture of constant self-challenge at Crossrail, conducting capability reviews and applying improvement plans. Through designing and implementing collaborative processes such as the Master Operational Handover Schedule, we ensured that shared responsibility and accountability exists for Crossrail and its supply chain.

The culture of collaboration at the heart of the Innovation programme has been shown to deliver cost benefits and improved performance. The programme leaves a true legacy for future infrastructure projects.

We are continuing in our role as Programme Partner and look forward to supporting Crossrail as it transitions from construction into operation.

To read more about our involvement in making Crossrail a reality, please see Crossrail Early Years.

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