Consultancy - Articles and news items
Issue 6 2010 / 10 December 2010 /
The ÅF Group is a leader in technical consulting, with expertise founded on more than a century of experience. The ÅF Group offers highly qualified services and solutions for industrial processes, infrastructure projects and the development of products and IT systems. Today, the ÅF Group has approximately 4,000 employees. The company is based in Europe, […]
Issue 4 2010 / 3 August 2010 /
Rail transport is essential to the UK’s economy. The Eddington Transport Study of 2006 found a clear link between transport capacity and economic performance, and noted that transport was an enabler of economic growth rather than a creator of growth in itself. Crossrail, for example, is expected to generate around £36 billion of benefits to London and south east England1.
Rail network passenger numbers are growing. Passenger numbers in 2008/09 were approximately double those recorded in the early 1980s, and almost 300 million greater than in 1950 when the network was significantly larger2.
Consultancies are providing expertise that is helping to realise important railway projects in Europe and around the world. Britain’s first high-speed railway line – High Speed 1 – was opened by Queen Elizabeth II with much fanfare on 6 November 2007. High speed Eurostar trains now whisk passengers from the splendidly-restored station at London St Pancras to the centre of Paris in just 2hr 15min.
Initial and advanced training, together with lifelong learning, are steadily growing as being the most important attribute in today’s society. Employees’ social or management skills are, alongside their vocational qualifications, more crucial than ever to a company’s success or failure.
Consultancy firms are currently working on a diverse range of projects in the railway industry. This November, the final section of High Speed One will open. This is the UK’s first high-speed rail line, formerly known as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. With the completion of the route, Eurostar trains will be able to gallop at speeds of 300km/h from Paris Nord and Brussels Midi across the plains of northern France and Belgium, through the Channel Tunnel and over Kent, the so-called ‘Garden of England’. After burrowing into tunnels under East London, the sleek international trains will emerge into daylight to terminate in London’s magnificently refurbished St Pancras International station. A triumph of modern-day engineering, High Speed One is also a tribute to the skills of consultancy firms – not least their political skills.
All large corporate organisations, such as railways, have the need for professional services. Lawyers, accountants, architects, engineers – all these and more are likely to be needed at some time or another, especially if large projects are being planned.
Consultancy practices have an important role in providing technical expertise for railway projects around the globe. Historically, Europe’s big state railways were self-sufficient. All the engineering skills were on hand in-house: when a new project was sanctioned by the government, the state railway would generally be able to design and execute the project itself. The experience and expertise gained in such work would enable the state railway to sell consultancy services to developing countries embarking on new railways and railway improvement projects.