Department for

Nichols is proud to have provided strategic support to the Department for Transport (DfT) on a range of its most challenging, high risk and high value projects and initiatives since 2005.  Our work with DfT has helped deliver significant improvements to UK transport which make a real difference to both passengers and the wider economy.


The value of transport to society, communities, business and the economy has never been greater. In the climate of the Covid-19 pandemic and EU Exit, the need to keep critical supplies and key workers moving is paramount. DfT leads this mission, defining the strategy and funding required, and sponsoring a programme of investments totalling over £250bn. Working with DfT to deliver this programme is a source of immense pride to Nichols.


Project Speed
DfT has a key role to play in ‘Project Speed’ the Government infrastructure delivery taskforce. Nichols provided Programme Management support to work with Government to define the overall Project Speed programme and in particular DfT’s required contribution.

Rail Access to Heathrow
Nichols provided a high calibre specialist to support DfT’s Rail Access to Heathrow Programme. We delivered unique private sector insights to DfT’s investment programme. This assisted DfT in involving private sector parties further, bringing contestability, innovation, value and faster delivery times to the sector. Our breadth of expertise means Nichols is uniquely placed to advise on both rail and aviation strategy.


High Speed 2
Nichols was appointed as Project Representative (P-Rep) on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport, in partnership with Steer and KPMG. P-Rep provides independent technical assurance that the High Speed 2 (HS2) programme is being delivered efficiently and effectively in order to achieve its overall objectives and expected benefits.  HS2 is a high speed rail link which will serve over 25 stations connecting around 30 million people.  It is a huge force for regeneration, creating 25,000 jobs, bringing over £92bn of benefits, and acting as a catalyst for economic growth.

Nichols provided specialist support to DfT’s High Speed Rail Group in the form of a Lead Sponsor for Euston Station, developing Green Book compliant Outline Business Cases for Euston Station and working with HM Treasury to secure £500m extra government funding.  We developed the procurement approach for the commercial development at Euston, to ensure maximum commercial value is achieved from this ground breaking project.  This will enable Euston station to be a focus for regeneration in addition to providing improved transport links.

Nichols provided Intelligent Client support to DfT’s High Speed Rail Group, providing a unique bridge from policy to successful delivery.  We helped steer Phase 1 of HS2 through its first Sponsor Review Point gateway, in so doing assessing the delivery strategy, capability and affordability of HS2 Ltd’s plans, including assurance of the Phase 1 project baseline.

Intercity Express Programme
Nichols played a key role on the £5bn DfT Intercity Express rolling stock programme in developing and implementing the procurement strategy for a new generation of trains, representing one of the biggest ever UK rolling stock orders.

For Intercity West Coast, we managed the business case for introducing a high frequency timetable and journey time improvements and the procurement for the £1.5bn Pendolino Lengthening programme to deliver increased capacity benefits.  For the Intercity East Coast franchise, we advised DfT on operator requirements to introduce new rolling stock and support the roll out of the European Train Control System.

In 2007, Mike Nichols delivered a seminal report to the Secretary of State on the Highways Agency’s Major Roads Programme.  This resulted in significant changes in governance within and between DfT and the Highways Agency, a restructuring and redefining of the roads programme and a strengthening of the Highways Agency’s delivery capability.

Working closely with the Highways Agency (now Highways England) we established the Strategic Roads Investment Projects division within DfT and were instrumental in redefining a sustainable £9bn roads investment programme, building closer relationships with regional stakeholders and implementing effective sponsorship solutions.

Accelerating improvements
in transport

Birmingham New Street
We gave strategic support to the £500m transformation of Birmingham New Street Station, helping DfT secure key approvals which gave the green light to this iconic project.  The new station has completely reinvigorated the surrounding area providing a shining example of the importance of regeneration.

Nichols provided specialist programme management, systems integration, planning and commercial management to complement the DfT team, delivering significant cost and value for money improvements.  We supported the procurement processes for the rolling stock and depots, establishing cross industry governance arrangements that still operate today.


We provide DfT with strategic, commercial, programme management and technical support and advice on a wide range of the highest profile and most complex projects and programmes in the government’s portfolio.

We have often worked across central government interfaces (including HM Treasury, Infrastructure and Projects Authority, and other departments), being part of, and managing complex inter-government trade-offs around cost, programme and benefits.

We are proud to always work in close partnership with DfT, tailoring our approach in order to respond to a fast changing environment.  We bring innovative ideas and best practice to our work, always focusing on securing the best possible outcomes that are in the long term interest of transport users whilst providing value for money.

Through our work with DfT, we have delivered a number of lasting benefits to both the Department and passengers throughout the UK.


Elizabeth line London 2012 Olympic
and Paralympic Games
Towns Fund Department for
Low Carbon Contracts Company Global Technology Company Palace of Westminster Oslo Airport High Speed 2 Nuclear
Decommissioning Authority
Sellafield Office of Rail and Road

Iconic Stories

AVIVA Highways Agency Transport for London Docklands Light
Hong Kong West
Kowloon Expressway
Crossrail 2 Jubilee Line Extension Crossrail Early Years Department for Transport Intercity Express Programme Transport for London
Capital Programmes
Delivery Capability
Hong Kong
Highways Department
Network Rail Black Diamond Thales A Major UK Bank Anglo American