INNOTRANS: UK-based multi-disciplinary consultancy Atkins is seeking to expand its European business with a greater focus on what it terms a ‘full-service’ model. Speaking to Railway Gazette International at InnoTrans, David Brewer, Rail Market Director, said that the company would initially target Scandinavia, building upon its existing activity in that region.

‘We’ve developed this full-service approach in the UK where we are involved in everything from advising government on policy issues right down to the detail of construction work’, Brewer said. In other international markets, the company is more tightly focused on particular disciplines, he explained. These include signalling, where Atkins is working with Banedanmark on the systems integration for Denmark’s national resignalling programme. Atkins sees a strong pipeline of project work in the Nordic countries, and Brewer said that the company would be targeting more work in the urban rail sector and on Sweden’s planned Ostlänken high speed project in particular.

Citing the benefits of InnoTrans as a meeting place for global rail expertise, Brewer added that Atkins would be using its ‘existing skills’ to help reduce the risk in major rail infrastructure projects, particularly new line construction. ‘It is important for us to show how a designer can help civil contractors take the risk out of a design-build package. Not many design companies want to take a financial stake in the outcome of a project, but we have done exactly that in the UK’, he reported, citing Atkins’ involvement in the Staffordshire Alliance partnership that delivered a £250m grade separation of Britain’s West Coast Main Line.

Brewer was hopeful that the close relationships Atkins had developed with UK construction groups including Costain and Laing O’Rourke could be replicated in the wider European market. ‘We’re on the look out for more partners’, he suggested.