Network Rail Syston to Trent Gauge Enhancement Scheme

Up close image of rail tracks
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A programme of gauge enhancements on key routes has been ongoing since 2006 under the Department for Transport Strategic Freight Network programme.

This work will increase the maximum dimensions of railway vehicles that can be transported on the network, for example, by lowering the track bed or widening a bridge. Gauge clearance work between Syston and Trent opens up more key routes for journeys as well as providing fully cleared routes from ports in the South East to new transport terminals in the East Midlands.


Network Rail wants to deliver rail services differently, increasingly looking for new ways to improve the rail network and enhance passengers’ experience and the capacity of existing routes. Amey was appointed in September 2020 to deliver the Grip 3 Option Selection Report (optioneering stage) through the Rail team as the named contractor and Amey  as the named designer.

The close working of our design and operational teams began during the bid stage and has continued throughout mobilisation and contract delivery. This approach has enabled us to develop new options for gauge clearance for the first time on this project.


  • Our design and operational teams’ combined experience enabled different options to be suggested, considered and proposed to Network Rail. One suggestion of ‘notching’ a bridge (squaring off the arch) is being developed further with programme and cost savings identified by using this new approach.
  • Identified cost savings will be invested into bringing forward Grip 4 works in the programme. This work is not part of our rail systems framework with Network Rail, but our depth of capability has supported Network Rail’s strategic aims for the project and, in turn, has enabled them to propose Amey delivers the work.
  • Our in-house expertise gives us the ability to prioritise all available work for Amey, rather than looking at projects or clients in isolation. We decide on the level of impact and make the best decision for the benefit of the whole of Amey. This approach helps our clients to plan ahead as we’re clear about our priorities and commitments, focusing on our part of a project and not passing work to other companies to complete.
  • We have shared ownership for the delivery of the project –‘we’re in it together’. Our management team are aligned on our approach and streamline our reporting, governance and approvals to offer a seamless service.


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