Heathrow Rail Access Programme

WSP serves as Industry Systems Integrator for this complex large-scale rail project, providing stakeholders with high value strategic insights. 

Heathrow Rail Access Programme

In 2016, the Department for Transport (DfT) decided that the Western Rail Link to Heathrow project and proposals for a southern access scheme to the airport (Southern Access to Heathrow), should become a single, holistic program.

Known as the Heathrow Rail Access (HRA) Programme, it will provide a step-change in rail accessibility at Britain’s busiest airport, opening new markets across the South and South West and relieving congestion at London terminal stations.

Planned to align with other nationally significant infrastructure projects, including High Speed 2 (HS2) and Crossrail, HRA will provide an attractive alternative to the heavily congested road network, where few other strategic infrastructure alternatives exist.

Industry Systems Integration to foster a collaborative environment

WSP's role as Industry Systems Integrator (ISI) includes working at the strategic program stage and supporting the benefits case and developing program level requirements. We are managing the integration risks between the main industry parties responsible for delivering the outcomes of the HRA programme; DfT, Network Rail, Heathrow Airport Ltd and the affected train service operators. The HRA ISI team seeks to coordinate activities across the industry parties to implement a ‘whole-system’ approach to planning of timetables, infrastructure delivery, rolling stock delivery and operational change.

The ISI team provide us with high value strategic insight, helping to ensure we are fully integrated with the wider network and emerging plans
DfT HRA Programme Client

System Engineering approach to strategic development 

We are applying a Systems Engineering approach to the early stages of development to help maximise benefit realization potential based on existing services and other constraints.

Our recommendations to the DfT are based on a holistic, and benefits and outcomes driven approach, helping it to make strategic decisions that put the program first. The requirements, change and decision-making processes we enable are robust and traceable, to provide a high level of accountability.

Operational and geographical architecture views 

Our systems reveal operational and geographical architecture views of the HRA programme. This provides a visualization of existing and new services, interfacing projects & programs and rail systems, such as traction power, overhead line equipment, signalling and train control.


Migration Plans – a key planning tool

Migration Plans provide a high-level view of program schedule, highlighting the optimum sequence and dependencies of activities, identifying the critical path in delivering key milestones and ultimately program benefits.

By monitoring the major risk items in the delivery timeline, this can provide an early indication of delays which allows for planning and implementing mitigations well in advance.