Department for
Transport Intercity
Express Programme

Nichols helped the Department for Transport secure innovative and best value proposals for the procurement of new high speed trains and kept a unique and very significant programme on track and on schedule.

In 2004, the Department for Transport (DfT) committed to examine options for a new train to replace the existing High Speed Trains. In 2005 the Intercity Express Programme (IEP) was conceived.

We played a key role in developing and implementing the procurement strategy for a new generation of trains. This would represent one of the biggest ever UK rolling stock orders.


Working in the DfT team, we developed the overall business case proposition. We targeted maximum benefits, optimising costs and focusing on whole system whole life value for money. We deployed a specialist commercial management team to develop a bespoke procurement strategy, using an innovative approach to depart from industry norms by ensuring train suppliers, operators and infrastructure maintainers were jointly and appropriately incentivised to optimise whole life industry cost.

We played a key part in delivering IEP successfully through an exhaustive series of board level and Ministerial approval stages and OGC Gateway Reviews, as befitting a programme of this scale, complexity and public profile.

Procurement of new,
high speed trains

Over a period of six years, we have supported our client to secure innovative and best value proposals from the suppliers at all stages of the procurement process, managed the Department’s exposure to financial and reputational risk, and enabled the delivery of a challenging and high profile programme. We have helped to keep a unique and significant programme on track and on schedule, a programme that will ultimately deliver a new train to many of the UK’s long distance routes, and maximise the return on the taxpayers’ investment.


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