URS is a leading provider of engineering, construction and technical services, with a strong rail heritage, both through its acquisition of the Scott Wilson Group in 2010 and its extensive experience of designing railways around the world.

Ian Hay, Director of Rail at URS, observes: ‘Becoming part of URS has certainly increased the growth potential, and although the name may have changed, the expertise, technical knowledge and high quality services that were synonymous with the Scott Wilson brand, are now firmly entrenched and stronger than ever under the URS banner.’

URS has great expertise in all aspects of multidisciplinary railway design and delivery, from project feasibility to detailed design, site supervision and project and programme management, as well as providing Public Private Partnership (PPP) advice and transaction services. Such expertise is backed up by a very impressive track record that includes some of the largest global railway projects ever undertaken, spanning the full spectrum of light, metro, high speed and heavy rail markets.

The breadth and diversity of URS’ service offering is reflected in its extensive client base, ranging from infrastructure owners, contractors and government agencies, to train operators, developers and financiers across the globe.

‘During the last 18 months our client base has dramatically changed with at least 50 per cent of our sales now secured with contractors for design and build services, in contrast to five years ago when probably 80 per cent of our sales were directly with Network Rail,’ says Ian.

URS is also currently providing detailed design services direct to contractors for a number of major UK infrastructure projects including Paisley Canal electrification, North Doncaster Chord diversionary route, Borders Railway, Cardiff area re-signalling and Crossrail, all of which are under construction.

URS is also one of three companies providing Network Rail with detailed design services for the national S&C Renewals Programme. These projects provide our engineers with an enviable opportunity to see their designs on paper converted into reality.

Paisley Canal

URS has just completed the detailed design for Babcock Rail on this award-winning project, employing innovative solutions to reduce the cost of electrification by more than 50 per cent. This design and build project was delivered in the space of just six months, where typically this type of work would take a year.

Close collaborative working between Network Rail, Babcock Rail and URS was a major factor in the successful delivery of the project. ‘By working closely and collaboratively with clients from the beginning, URS is able to take on the role of a trusted advisor, identifying the client’s strategy and business drivers in order to help it deliver a valued service to its customers, as well as delivering tangible benefits for its stakeholders and bottom-line improvements,’ explains Ian.

North Doncaster Chord

URS is in the final stages of completing the design works for this new diversionary route that will take slow-moving freight trains away from the East Coast Main Line. Working for Morgan Sindall, URS has designed a new viaduct, two new bridges, 1.2 km of new permanent way and connections into existing network rail infrastructure, as well as supporting mechanical and electrical overhead line electrification and telecoms alterations.

URS has also provided essential environmental and ecological input into the design in order to minimise the impact of the works on the environment, local ecology and residents.

National Switch and Crossing Renewals Programme

URS has been providing multidisciplinary design services for the detailed design of switch and crossing renewals for a number of years. The work has involved providing permanent way, signalling and telecoms, railway electrification and power engineering, as well as civil, structural and track-bed engineering design services. URS is currently one of three consultants providing survey and detailed design services to Network Rail across the UK, with contracted works in the South East and West of England and in Scotland.

Borders Railway

URS is providing outline design services to BAM Nuttall following a long association with the project. The project is now entering the detailed design phase, with construction due to start in early 2013. URS is also providing Network Rail with mining stabilisation design work.

High Speed 2

URS has partnered with Mott McDonald to provide multidisciplinary design development services to HS2, specifically for the Metropolitan section between Euston and Old Oak Common. It is also currently providing outline designs for future parliamentary submission. This commission will run until the autumn of 2013.


URS has been involved at various stages of the project since the early 1990s, including route selection, providing support for the parliamentary Hybrid Bill, which received Royal Assent in July 2008, as well as preliminary and detailed design work.

Since 2008, URS has been one of the largest design consultants on Crossrail and at peak had 500 staff working on both the surface routes and the central section.

Services provided by URS encompass feasibility studies, outline and detailed design of the scheme’s infrastructure, including stations, portals, civil engineering structures and track layouts, as well as passenger service operational modelling, pedestrian flow modelling and transport planning services.

URS has also worked for Network Rail on the surface routes to the West and North East of the capital and for Crossrail on the central (underground) section, while also supporting a number of other consultants on the central section.

Recruiting at all levels

To meet the future demands of the rail industry, URS is currently recruiting at all levels and in all disciplines, particularly in London and the South East. It is offering candidates the opportunity to work on some of the most iconic projects, both in the UK and around the world. ‘Recognising the resource challenges facing the industry, we are investing in the future with a balanced intake of graduates and apprentices to grow the engineering talent of the future,’ says Ian.

Throughout 2013 URS will seek to build on the successes of the past eighteen months. ‘We will continue to identify and deliver solutions that will provide our contractor client base with best value,’ says Ian. ‘By consistently developing innovative solutions for some of the world’s most complex engineering, construction and technical challenges, URS has become a market leader that clients trust and rely on. Through our consistently high benchmarking, outstanding quality service and proven sustainability programmes, our desire and capability to grow will be used to full potential.’

In addition, URS is looking to develop new service offerings in asset management and process engineering, as it seeks to maximise the life of existing assets. ‘2013 will be a challenging and exciting year, as we seek to grow our business and continue to build on our design and build portfolio,’ Ian concludes.

For more information about URS visit www.ursglobal.com