We are encouraging contractors, suppliers and stakeholders to propose changes to our standards.
Standards are the detailed requirements that underpin how the railway and the delivery of improvement projects are run. The changes are to encourage greater innovation, cost efficiency and third party funding into the rail network, whilst maintaining safety.
We have already updated and streamlined many of our standards to reduce both complexity and cost, and to encourage innovation. Suppliers and other stakeholders can also proactively suggest better ways of maintaining and enhancing the railway via our standards challenge process.
Standards exist to ensure Britain has a safe, high performing and cost efficient railway, but they are often seen as overly complex and adding unnecessary cost. Our response to the Hansford Review identified a number of opportunities to address this by encouraging suppliers and other stakeholders to proactively challenge standards to increase innovation and creativity, and propose more cost effective solutions.
We've adopted a collaborative and iterative approach in developing the new standards challenge process in partnership with the Railway Industry Association (RIA) and a number of key suppliers and stakeholders.
As part of the process, suppliers and other stakeholders can now submit a standards challenge application when they consider the standard to be incorrect, not enable the application of best practice, or drive increased cost without comparable benefit. We will review all challenges received, and conduct a rigorous impact assessment across a broad range of output capabilities such as safety, performance, environment and compatibility to make sure the capabilities are not compromised.
Following the launch of the process, we have introduced a series of incentives to encourage challenges. These include:
- Providing our corporate recognition of successful applications through jointly authored and promoted case studies
- Including a category for innovation and standards challenge and innovation in industry awards
- Seeking suppliers to identify potential standards that could be challenged within tender returns
- Assessing ongoing contract performance in relation to standards challenge and innovation
- Enabling suppliers and other parties to introduce innovative approaches/products to the industry following a successful application
As the scope covers Network Rail’s whole portfolio of policies, standards, processes and specifications, including initiating dialogue with the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) in relation to Railway Group and Industry Standards, there’s excitement to see what limitations can unanimously be removed and the opportunities that will be enabled through successful challenges.
We have updated our 400 most critical standards but to ensure they always represent current best practice and constantly strive to safely reduce the cost of the railway, we need the help of our wider industry partners as well as experts from other industries and universities. The launch of the standards challenge process is the lever for this, providing genuine recognition and incentives to propose more efficient ways of both enhancing and maintaining our railway.Jon Shaw, chief engineer at Network Rail
Challenges received so far
As of March 2020, we’ve received 106 challenges where contractors, suppliers and other stakeholders tell us they can improve current best practice, and safely reduce the cost of running the railway. In addition to the 400 most critical standards we’ve updated already, we’ve opened ourselves up for other standards to be challenged if better ways of maintaining and enhancing the railway can be suggested. So far, the challenges received relate to buildings & civils (38), track (23), electrical power (21), projects (6), quality, safety, health & environment (5), Network Rail assurance panel (3), signalling electrical power (2), signalling (2), plant (1), maintenance (1), operations (1) and information management (1). You can download a more technical and detailed list of the standards challenged to date from our downloads for third parties page.
We are reviewing all challenges received, and will conduct a rigorous impact assessment to make sure safety, performance, compatibility and the environment are not compromised. Of the challenges received to date, over 50 have resulted in agreement be reached with the standard owner to modify the standard, and a number of the other challenges are currently being evaluated.
An example challenge: British Steel
British Steel has challenged some designs of our overhead line masts. They believe our current design standards mean some masts are fabrication intensive, use higher cost products and require structural steel not currently produced or stocked in the UK.
We’re evaluating and progressing their challenge through a series of collaborative workshops. The potential benefits their challenge proposes include:
- UK economic boost, helping increase our UK-sourced steel to over 97 per cent
- Locally sourced materials, reduced lead time, reduced carbon footprint
- Lower manufacturing cost
- Lower material cost
- Lower transportation cost
- Potential for up to 50 per cent cost saving for certain designs
Our rail and construction teams have formed a close working relationship with Network Rail, who’ve an excellent record of supporting UK manufacturing. By working in partnership, and accepting challenges like this, we hope to make it easier for Network Rail to source more high quality, cost effective products manufactured in the UK.John Austin, account manager, British Steel
List of challenges to standards received
|Applicant||Date Received||Subject||Area||Summary of Challenge|
|TSP Projects||07-Dec-2017||Modular Steel Platforms||Buildings & Civils||Clarification concerning the current prescribed design life of platforms and minimum steel galvanising levels.
|British Steel||13-Nov-2017||OLE Mast Design||Electrical Power||Potential for simplification of fabricated overhead line masts.
|Network Rail||10-Apr-2018||Planning & Managing Construction Work||Quality, Safety, Health & Environment||Potential for contractor's Construction Phase Plans to be referenced to the Network Rail template sections.|
|SNC-Lavalin||17-Apr-2018||Track Design Handbook Module 07 Gauging||Track||Several sections of the Track Design Handbook reference requirements for other disciplines. Potential for simplification.|
|SNC-Lavalin||17-Apr-2018||Track Design Handbook System Interfaces – Electrical Clearances||Track||Several sections of the Track Design Handbook reference requirements for other disciplines. Potential for simplification.|
|SNC-Lavalin||12-Apr-2018||Track Design Handbook System Interfaces – Conductor Rail||Track||Several sections of the Track Design Handbook reference requirements for other disciplines. Potential for simplification.|
|SNC-Lavalin||12-Apr-2018||Track Design Handbook System Interfaces – Platforms||Track|
|SNC-Lavalin||12-Apr-2018||Track Design Handbook System Interfaces – Level Crossings||Track|
|Kwik-Step||13-Apr-2018||Lineside Access Steps||Buildings & Civils||Design requirements for lineside access steps.|
|Network Rail||13-Apr-2018||NR/L2/RSE/100/Guide||Network Rail Assurance Panel||Request for document to be withdrawn as it is out of date.|
|Network Rail||17-Apr-2018||Requirements Framework||Projects||Clarification concerning who is accountable for the RRD.|
|Kwik-Step||16-Apr-2018||Electrical Clearances||Electrical Power||Providing improved clarity in relation to electrical clearance distances.
|Kwik-Step||13-Apr-2018||Positions of Safety||Quality, Safety, Health & Environment||Providing improved clarity in relation to positions of safety.
|Network Rail||08-Jun-2018||Train borne monitoring of traction power contact systems.||Electrical Power||Clarification in relation to a number of requirements in relation to train borne monitoring of traction power contact systems.|
|Grand Central||19-Jun-2018||Wheel Impact Load Detection||Track||Controls applied to trains following measurement of forces at Wheel Impact Load Detection (WILD) sites.
|Amey||22-Jun-2018||DNO test points||Quality, Safety, Health & Environment||Providing test points for DNO supply cubicles.|
|Amey||26-Jun-2018||Points Heating Equipment||Electrical Power||Using lower power points heating strips nearer the switch toe.|
|J Murphy & Sons||04-Jul-2018||Line Speed following drainage works||Track||Proposal for a more cost-effective regime for track stabilisation following installation of drainage.
|Amey||04-Jul-2018||Track Affected Zone||Track||Proposal to change the influence angle for the track affected zone.|
|Atkins||05-Jul-2018||Buffer Locking||Track||Update to calculations to include vehicles without buffers, autocoupler limits and lateral movement of through-corridor trains.|
|Rail Asset Development||06-Jul-2018||Monitoring track during building works||Buildings & Civils||Improving clarity of requirements for monitoring of track in various situations.|
|Amey Sersa||11-Jul-2018||Stretcher Bar settings||Track||Improving clarity of installation and maintenance instructions for new stretcher bars at switches and crossings.
|Amey||13-Jul-2018||Earth electrode/mat connections||Signalling|
|Clarification of requirements for connecting earth electrode/mats.|
|Network Rail||26-Jul-2018||Bridge Strengthening||Buildings & Civils||Minimum train live loading values applied to bridge strengthening schemes.
|Siemens Rail||07-Aug-2018||Non-application of Design for Reliability standard to signalling fibre interface||Network Rail Assurance Panel||Potential for non-application of requirements for certain commercial off-the-shelf components|
|Network Rail||09-Aug-2018||Clarity around Authority to Work roles.||Projects||Clarification concerning authority of certain roles.|
|Network Rail||06-Sep-2018||Engineering Assurance Requirements||Electrical Power||NR/L2/INI/CP0069 listed in the references but document has been withdrawn. Change PRS to RRD/DRRD.|
|Mott MacDonald||09-Oct-2018||Wind Loading on OLE structures||Buildings & Civils||Alignment of wind loading equations to BS EN 50119.|
|Amey||09-Oct-2018||Points Heating Equipment||Electrical Power||Proposed changes to the arrangement drawings for electric points heating equipment.|
|Amey||31-Oct-2018||Points Heating Equipment||Electrical Power||Transformer terminal arrangements for supplying point strip heaters.|
|TSP Projects||12-Nov-2018||Platform Crossfall||Buildings & Civils||Ability to construct platforms that achieve the specified crossfall gradient limits.|
|Amey||21-Jan-2019||Document Revision Strategy||Projects||Difference between the revision strategy specified in the standard and the way ProjectWise is configured.|
|Power Supply Projects||30-Jan-2019||Cable Testing Voltages||Electrical Power||Clarification regarding specified testing voltages for single core cable used on 25 kV a.c. systems.|
|VolkerRail||15-Feb-2019||Document Format||Signalling||Readability of text in subject index.|
|J Murphy & Sons||21-Feb-2019||Boreholes||Buildings & Civils||Use of a single borehole to confirm ground conditions for under-track crossing (UTX).|
|Hochtief||29-Mar-2019||Operational Property Drainage||Buildings & Civils||Standard currently does not include operational property drainage systems.|
|Hochtief||01-Apr-2019||Undertrack Crossings||Buildings & Civils||Minimum depths could use a risk-based approach and rational could be provided as to the reason for the requirement for minimum depths.|
|Hochtief||01-Apr-2019||Monitoring track during building works||Buildings & Civils||Duration of monitoring baseline and adopting a risk-based approach.|
|Hochtief||02-Apr-2019||Platform Copings||Buildings & Civils||Safe manual handling / lifting of coping stones, and loading requirements.|
|VolkerRail||16-Apr-2019||Task Briefing Sheets||Quality, Safety, Health & Environment||Format of Task Briefing Sheet.|
|BAM Nuttall||25-Apr-2019||Handback linespeed following track replacement||Track||Handing back the track at line speed following infrastructure works to replace the track.|
|25-Apr-2019||Bridge Filler Beams||Buildings & Civils||Allowance for longitudinal shear resistance offered by metal components protruding into concrete.|
|J Murphy & Sons||25-Apr-2019||Battery Specification Requirements||Electrical Power||Alternative approach to performance calculation of battery life with photovoltaic system.|
|J Murphy & Sons||25-Apr-2019||Undertrack Crossings||Buildings & Civils||Proposed performance specification instead of minimum depth of cover.|
|Osborne||25-Apr-2019||Alternative Back-up Power Supplies||Electrical Power||Include Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) & Battery back-up supplies to signalling Principal Supply Points and Relocatable Equipment Buildings.|
|Skanska UK||25-Apr-2019||Functionality in Design||Buildings & Civils||Integrated design approach using Functionality in Design.|
|Skanska UK||25-Apr-2019||Design Methodology of Geotechnical Structures||Buildings & Civils||Alternative design and calculation methods for geotechnical structures.|
|Arup||10-Apr-2019||Recess beneath Platform Edge||Buildings & Civils||Standard design dimensions do provide a TSI compliant recess.|
|Amey||29-Apr-2019||Working on or near Signalling Power Distribution equipment||Signalling|
|Type of equipment covered by the ‘test before touch' procedure.|
|Amey||29-Apr-2019||Points Heating Equipment||Electrical Power||Securing of Point Heating Strips|
|Kier Professional Services||22-May-2019||Requirements for Footbridges||Buildings & Civils||Inconsistencies between NR/L3/CIV/020, the standard footbridge design described in NR/CIV/TUM/400 and associated drawings, and DfT standard ‘Design Standards for Accessible Railway Stations'.|
|Hochtief||03-Jun-2019||Requirements for Clay Bricks||Buildings & Civils||BS 3921 has been withdrawn hence brick is no longer certified to this standard|
|Hochtief||04-Jun-2019||Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations||Buildings & Civils||Duties required by the Water Supply (Water Fittings) Regulations 1999.|
|Hochtief||04-Jun-2019||Engineering Assurance Requirements||Track||Engineering Assurance Arrangements for Track Engineering Projects outputs|
|Balfour Beatty||07-Jun-2019||Warning sign dimensions for substations||Electrical Power||Warning sign dimensions for substations|
|AECOM||11-Jun-2019||DC circuit breaker protection settings||Electrical Power||Improved guidance for calculation of protection settings for DC circuit breakers|
|Hochtief||13-May-2019||H&S File Memorandum of Agreement and Deliverable Document Matrix||Information Management||Combine two forms into one.|
|Hochtief||13-May-2019||CRE Competence Requirements||Projects||CRE competence requirements for off-site fabrication / quality assurance.|
|Hochtief||13-May-2019||Requirements for doweling platform coping stones||Buildings & Civils||Clarity on the requirements for doweling coping stones and provision of method for protecting worker from falls from height / moving trains whist working on platforms.|
|Hochtief||01-May-2019||Design check categories for platform piling||Buildings & Civils|
|Clarification on category of design checks for platform piling.|
|Arcadis UK||17-Jun-2019||Use of centralisers when soil nailing||Buildings & Civils||Proposal to not use centralisers when using self-drilling soil nails.|
|WSP UK||15-Jul-2019||Track construction tolerances||Electrical Power||Track construction tolerances to provide electrical clearances.|
|Scott Parnell||05-Jul-2019||Installation of cable routes||Electrical Power||Specification for installation of cable routes forming part of the traction distribution system|
|Story Contracting||22-Aug-2019||Minimum Rail Length (IBJ)||Track||Minimum rail lengths for insulated block joints|
|VolkerRail||22-Aug-2019||Recording Spoken Safety Critical Communication||Operations||Recording Spoken Safety Critical Communications between Possession Management and Engineering Trains/On-Track Plant Drivers when Working in Possessions and Worksites|
|Story Contracting||27-Aug-2019||Stress Free Temperature Values||Track||Stress Free Temperature Value Hierarchy following Project Works|
|Hochtief||09-Sep-2019||TEF3069 Pesticide Application Record||Track||Change to title TEF form to include the word herbicide instead of or alongside pesticide|
|Babcock||12-Sep-2019||Index of Track Engineering Forms (TEFs)||Track||Index needs to be updated to accurately reflect the current issues of TEFs|
|Story Contracting||12-Sep-2019||Stress Free Temperature Values||Track||Review the current Stress Free Temperature values to manage risks associated with disturbance/works in adjacent to track and in the shoulder area only.|
|WSP UK||26-Sep-2019||Ballast Ramps||Track||Alternative arrangements to installing ballast ramps|
|Amey||25-Sep-2019||Approval in Principle||Buildings & Civils||Include requirement for designer to confirm design complies with the Approval In Principle document|
|Amey||24-Sep-2019||Wind Loading of OLE and Structures||Buildings & Civils||Correction to cross-reference|
|Atkins||07-Oct-2019||Cable Protection||Electrical Power||Clarification on the level of mechanical protection required to be provided to Class II distribution cables.|
|WSP UK||11-Oct-2019||Minimum rail length||Track||Minimum rail length required for permanent situation|
|Hochtief||14-Oct-2019||Drainage plans||Buildings & Civils||Risk based approach to runoff from common surfaces found within the Network Rail estate|
|A & I Coatings (UK)||15-Oct-2019||Use of fluoropolymer paint technology||Buildings & Civils||To facilitate the use of fluoropolymer paint technology thereby enabling paint systems with design lives of up to sixty years|
|Hochtief||23-Oct-2019||Standard designs for DNO supply points and ballast boards||Buildings & Civils||Provision of standard designs for DNO supply points and ballast boards|
|J Murphy & Sons||04-Nov-2019||Gabion fill material||Buildings & Civils||Amend gabion fill material specification and gabion basket mesh size to allow track ballast to be used as gabion fill material|
|J Murphy & Sons||04-Nov-2019||Competence quads for key resources||Projects||Create a central database of approved CEM and CRE resources|
|J Murphy & Sons||04-Nov-2019||Design criteria for replacement of structural parts and elements||Buildings & Civils||Alternate design criteria to replacement of structural parts and elements|
|WSP UK||08-Nov-2019||Structural Expansion Joints||Track||Correction to figure showing which rails are free and fixed|
|Hochtief||12-Nov-2019||Bolt Protective Coating||Buildings & Civils||Requirement for protective coating required for cast in holding down bolts.|
|Costain||20-Nov-2019||Asset Management Plan optimisation||Maintenance||Optimisation of the Asset Management Plan (AMP) enabling projects to be delivered more efficiently|
|Costain||20-Nov-2019||Form 2/3 Completion||Buildings & Civils||Requirement to complete Form 2/3 for certain category works|
|Costain||11-Nov-2019||Product Acceptance requirements||Network Rail Assurance Panel||Suggested changes to Product Acceptance requirements|
|WSP||27-Nov-2019||Touch Voltages||Electrical Power||Alignment of permissible touch voltages with 2017 version of BS EN 50122-1|
|J Murphy & Sons||02-Dec-2019||Design of OLE structures||Buildings & Civils||Loading criteria for new OLE structures|
|J Murphy & Sons||02-Dec-2019||Life of coatings||Buildings & Civils||Life of coatings on surfaces prepared to St3 manually or by power tools|
|SPL||19-Dec-2019||Accuracy of track survey system||Track||Accuracy of RILA track survey measurement method|
|Arup||17-Jan-2020||Access Paths and Cess Walkways||Quality, Safety, Health & Environment||Construction requirements for walkways and also clarity around requirements for provision.|
|Arup||17-Jan-2020||Platform Coping Stone Dimensions||Buildings & Civils||Dimensions of coper stones for platforms.|
|WSP||21-Jan-2020||Cable Specifications||Electrical Power||Some of the specified British Standards are no longer applicable or valid.|
|WSP||05-Feb-2020||d.c. earthing arrangements||Electrical Power||Requirements for earthing arrangements.|
|Costain||10-Feb-2020||Platform Gauge Recording||Track||Measurement equipment and methods for platform gauge recording.|
|AECOM||17-Feb-2020||Conductor Rail Drawings||Electrical Power||Further information needed for requirements relating to conductor rail provision.|
|AMCOGiffen||19-Feb-2020||Requirements for galvanising||Buildings & Civils||Thickness of galvanising.|
|Hochtief||21-Feb-2020||Protective Coating Requirements||Buildings & Civils||Recommended review of documents to reduce complexity and cost for protective coating works.|
|AECOM||25-Feb-2020||OLE Stagger Reduction Values||Electrical Power||Clarification of requirements for MK1 OLE equipment stagger reduction.|
|Babcock Rail||06-Mar-2020||Rail Grinding for Welding||Track||Rail grinding requirements for joining rails by aluminothermic welding|
|Hochtief||14-Mar-2020||Personal Voltage Detectors||Plant||Mandating the use of personnel voltage detectors when working in OLE areas in MEWPs to prevent inadvertent contact with live electrical conductors|
|Arup||16-Mar-2020||Footbridge Ramps||Buildings & Civils||Inconsistency with requirements for gradients of footbridge ramps|
|Hochtief||19-Mar-2020||Building Information Modelling||Projects||Requirements for colours used in Building Information Modelling|
|Hochtief||25-Mar-2020||Asphalt and Yellow Lines for Platforms||Buildings & Civils||Detailed requirements relating to materials used|
|Fenix Rail Systems||27-Mar-2020||Reed Track Circuits||Signalling||Requirements relating to cable lengths and loop impedance|
How to submit a challenge
We are encouraging contractors, suppliers and other stakeholders to proactively suggest better ways of maintaining and enhancing the railway via our standards challenge process. You can submit a challenge to any of our standards by reading the guidance for completing the standards challenge application and completing a standards challenge form found on our downloads for third parties page. If after reading the catalogue of Network Rail standards you'd like to make a challenge, you can request a copy of the standard by emailing the standards management team: email@example.com