National Signalling Framework

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The National Signalling Framework has been established to modernise and improve signalling infrastructure across the UK network.

Atkins was awarded contracts for the Anglia and Kent area and the Sussex and Wessex frameworks in January 2012 for seven years. Services provided by Atkins include specialist signalling systems design, installation, testing and commissioning, and the associated power, telecommunications, ancillary civil engineering and OLE designs.

The framework was set up to deliver design and build contracts (GRIP 5-8) but at the time that Atkins was appointed, the initial development stage (GRIP 1-4) also needed to be done. Given Atkins’ signalling expertise, we were given an additional commission by Network Rail to progress several key projects to the design and build phase so that they could then be delivered under the framework. 

On East Kent Resignalling Phase 2 (EKR2) will see a 33-mile stretch of the region’s network upgraded and a brand new station has opened at Rochester, delivering a more reliable and efficient rail service with five extra trains to London during the morning peak and longer platforms.

The scheme is upgrading an area last renewed in 1959 and is part of Network Rail’s strategy to transfer control of signalling systems to Regional Operating Centres.

Our team has developed a range of innovations designed to save time on the scheme including the introduction of a new software package to assess assets along the project route. Working with Gioconda Limited, virtual reality software was created which allows the signal designer at the outline design stage to do everything they could if they were on-site but in a fraction of the time. Signal sighting can usually take up to nine months for a project of this size, but the software solution saw the work completed in just four weeks by one person at their computer without the need to go on-site.

Not only has this pioneering solution cut six months from the outline design phase but has also made savings in terms of site protection staff while significantly reducing occupational health issues associated with travelling to and from site and working in an operational railway environment. The HD video that was produced has been distributed to the design, construction and testing teams so that their site visits have been dramatically reduced too.

The collaborative nature of the framework contracts means that knowledge and best practice gained on one scheme will be applied to the others to provide value for our client. 


Key facts


United Kingdom

Network Rail

Balfour Beatty
C Spencer
Gioconda Limited
Medway Council

Winner, Best Collaboration
2014 Network Rail Partnership Awards

East Kent Resignalling Phase 2 scope:
New station at Rochester
New Bay Platform at Rainham
12-car platform extension at Strood
Linespeed improvements
Closure of four signal boxes




UK Europe

Peter Williams
Senior engineering manager, Rail engineering projects
T: +44 7771 830322


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