East Coast Main Line Upgrade Support


Operating Bids Tendering and Contracting

East Coast Main Line Upgrade Support

Client: Railtrack, UK
Date: 1999–2000

Project Description

Railtrack, the former rail owner in the United Kingdom, conducted a process to assess options for infrastructure improvements to enhance throughput and increase operating reliability along the East Coast Main Line (ECML) from London to York to Edinburgh. The line operated a highly complex timetable, with service along and across the corridor provided by a number of private operators.

Working with Transportation Management & Design and Flour Corporation, Phillip Boyle provided technical expertise to the York-based Programme Management Team (PROMT), which was responsible for the East Coast Main Line upgrade. The project aimed to support line upgrades and network refranchising to assist the regulator.


Phillip Boyle and the TMD and Flour Corporation team provided a range of solutions to identify the best six infrastructure projects, some of which have since been implemented. In particular, we undertook an innovative platform unitisation for Kings Cross Station, which guided the final platform solution.

Scope of Works

Key Tasks

Phillip Boyle’s role centred on providing advice as to whether the proposed infrastructure improvements would provide the additional or necessary capacity increases to achieve Railtrack’s required outcomes. Issues analysed by Phillip Boyle during the upgrade included:

  • Signalling options
  • Track layouts
  • Platform capacities and use
  • Train operating speeds
  • Passenger–freight train interaction
  • Service stopping patterns.

Key ChallengesECML Map

The scale and complexity of the ECML operation provided numerous challenges for the operational planning tasks. The UK’s intercity rail network includes a range of different service types covering a highly complex interrelated network.

The commercial nature of the Railtrack contracts, through which ‘slots’ are sold to operators, meant that optimal planning had real commercial benefits.

The integration of operational planning with commercial imperatives for the infrastructure projects presented a further set of challenges, as options for proposed infrastructure had to be robustly assessed for likely benefits.

The contractual arrangements were also highly complex (one main player operated the London–Edinburgh line, while other franchises operated along the ECML or crossed it) and imposed constraints on solutions.


"Phillip Boyle consistently provided a high level of expertise, advice and management of the scheduling process. His strong technical skills and thorough understanding of transport operations were major assets to the provision of the Olympic and Paralympic games transportation services."

Organising Committee for the Athens Olympic Games, Athens 2004

"Phillip Boyle & Associates has supported the development of the SmartBus program through the planning and implementation phases. In particular on Route 901 and 902 he developed the timetable and worked with the multiple bus operators to create scheduling solutions for implementation. This included not only creating the vehicle runs and crew shifts but also development of information for the systems that support SmartBus technologies. In each case implementation went very smoothly and high levels of scheduling efficiency were achieved. Phillip’s operational expertise and ability to successfully work with the bus operators involved was critical to the successful implementation of these services."

Chris Bright, Manager SmartBus, Department of Transport, Victoria

"Phillip Boyle & Associates provided outstanding expertise in assisting Sydney Ferries with development of its successful operating bid, driving the development of a range of “outside the box” options aimed at improving service quality and increasing efficiency levels. Phillip Boyle’s combination of technical operations capabilities and commercial experience provided Sydney Ferries with significant benefits during this process."

Denis Mole, Chief Operating Officer, Sydney Ferries, NSW

"A highly successful implementation has been achieved, complete with substantial network changes and a complete rewriting of all operating timetables. During the scheduling process Phillip Boyle & Associates worked closely with both TransLink and ourselves to achieve the best possible outcomes. As a result the operation has been made simpler and substantially more robust. Implementation was helped significantly by Phillip Boyle’s operational planning and scheduling expertise."

Paul Davies, General Manager, Westside Bus Service, Queensland

"Phillip Boyle & Associates provided outstanding planning, operations and implementation expertise. The project was difficult due to the complex nature of the service (local, intertown and line haul services operating under a timed-transfer system) and the number of stakeholders involved. Phillip Boyle’s hands-on approach ensured a difficult implementation went smoothly. He worked effectively with a variety of stakeholders ranging from large and small bus companies, Department of Transport staff, Metlink and local government representatives. Not only did Mr Boyle help to redesign the service, but he also drove the implementation, including development of a regional timetable in a new format."

John Storrie, General Manager – Strategic Planning & Policy, Department of Transport, Victoria

"Phillip Boyle provided scheduling support for Brisbane Transport over several projects spanning almost ten years. The range of projects he has assisted with cover the scheduling, planning and human resources disciplines. In that time he has demonstrated high levels of scheduling, planning and operations expertise. I look forward to working with Phillip Boyle & Associates in the future and would highly recommend them to an organisation looking for planning, operations or scheduling expertise."

Roman Gafa, Network Scheduling Manager, Brisbane Transport, Queensland

"Phillip Boyle & Associates developed our operating bid for the V/Line services. Not only did they assist with format, structure and content, but also developed our operating plan and pricing strategies. Our bid success was due in no small part to the professionalism of Phillip Boyle, his ability to prepare a high-quality operating bid, and his detailed understanding of operations. Upon winning the bid, Phillip Boyle & Associates provided implementation support and advice necessary to ensure a successful implementation of the services."

Frank Bono, Managing Director, Firefly Express, Victoria

"Having worked with Phillip Boyle over many years I can say without a doubt he provides industry-leading expertise in the planning, scheduling and operation of public transportation services. His recent work on the Advanced Transit Scheduling Manual reinforced this view."

Dan Boyle, President, Dan Boyle & Associates, USA