“Be challenging”

Explore Ideas. Helping promoters bring forward high quality ideas that
deliver better value.

This stage is all about helping promoters bring forward high quality ideas that deliver better value and could take roughly 3 months to complete. Be thorough in identifying the interdependencies and objectives, but sometimes less than 100% of the information is enough to take a decision, as long as you understand the potential risk and all relevant parties are involved in the decision. Make risk-based decisions relative to the stage.

The Exploration Toolkit contains:

Early stage specification tool

A hierarchy of options to consider before making changes to infrastructure.

Download the tool.

Early stage specification process

Four process steps to take a rail project through at the early stage of development

Access the four-step process.

Concept capture tool

The fourth stage of the early specification process.

Download the tool.

Pause or proceed plan

The pause or proceed plan here is the same as in the ‘Strategy’ section but should be developed separately for each stage.

Read more about the pause or proceed plan.

Download the outline plan.

Start with understanding the problem

Changing the railway means making a system change – there’s more to change than just the infrastructure – the trains, depots, timetables…. This toolkit will help you navigate that more easily. The degree of complexity and interfaces involved and who you need to talk to may not always be immediately obvious. These videos explain the areas you may need to consider.

Better Value Rail Video – The Railway as a System

Better Value Rail Video – Improving Train Services by Changing the Timetable

Better Value Rail Video – Making Changes to Rolling Stock (trains)

Understanding what you will need to consider will help you develop your ideas at an early stage, even while there are still some uncertainties. There may be many ways to solve the problem, each with different costs, risks and benefits. It is useful to understand that there is a first principles sequence to making changes to the railway system and also that system changes in the early stages can be iterative in their nature.

The complexity of making a system change is a challenge for many projects at an early stage. Every project will have nuances and interdependences that require working in a level of detail that requires progression to the appropriate Network Rail PACE (Projects Accelerated in a Controlled Environment) or project lifecycle stage with appropriate design development. However, there are some subject areas that can be explored early on to give indications to help make risk-based judgements to inform decision making.

The Early Stage Specification Tool shows the sequence in which to consider system changes in order to maximise value by controlling costs:   

The Early Stage Specification Process is a hierarchy of options to consider before making changes to infrastructure.