Professional rail consultancy

We apply our practical working rail operational knowledge and experience, and extensive pertinent project consultancy involvement, blended with a professional consultancy project delivery focus to any rail project or initiative.

What we do

IPEX specialises in enabling and improving rail operations and projects, particularly in rolling stock operational and commercial engineering – where we advise on specifying, procuring and optimising the functionality, performance and suitability of rolling stock; the way in which it is used and supported within the wider railway system; and its justification within the business case for the railway operation. In particular, we provide advice and support services in the field of rolling stock engineering, procurement and acquisition transactions, depot strategy, fleet maintenance and operation.

Typical service propositions include:

You may be considering a new or revised rail operation for which suitable rolling stock will be needed. You seek to be guided on the operational and commercial parameters that are appropriate for inclusion in the business case. You need to understand what rolling stock solutions might be applicable and available to you, where they might come from and when they could be procured.

We guide you through the rolling stock domain and the relevant parameters and metrics. We provide industry consultation and advice on rolling stock specification, performance, operation, maintenance, costs and potential availability from new and cascaded sources, drawn from on-going relationships with rolling stock manufacturers and leasing companies. Hence we gather appropriate values and assumptions for the technical and commercial parameters required for the rolling stock specification, operational modelling, demand forecasting, service options and the business case models.

Our IPEX rolling stock technical and commercial comparators capture the key defining parameters of the potential rolling stock types.We develop terms of reference for rolling stock specifications

We provide the rolling stock, depot and stabling specifications in accordance with the operational and business case requirements and we support their coordination and optimisation with all of the other business case inputs. Hence we provide market-tested engineering and commercial rolling stock options and solutions aligned to the operational and business requirement.

You will gain familiarity with the rolling stock domain and confidence that credible rolling stock specifications and business case parameters have been aligned to the operational and business requirements and benchmarked where appropriate.

You may be faced with developing and delivering a bid. You need an expert rolling stock team member to help decipher the requirements and develop initiatives and evidence to support the submission – speaking to the bid evaluator’s scoring objectives. This team member needs to provide proven creative, articulate and experienced engineering bid writing expertise combined with confidence and competence on the practical delivery of rolling stock engineering, maintenance and operations.

We provide agile, experienced engineering and rolling stock expertise to work cohesively with the operations, timetabling and revenue work stream teams to interpret the franchise bid requirements and initiatives and to prepare a high-scoring bid delivery plan that is built upon experience of evaluating franchise bids and on extensive practical knowledge and experience of managing rolling stock maintenance production and fleet performance improvement.

Principal IPEX tools that we develop and optimise are:

Fleet performance models and fleet performance improvement plans (FPIPs);

Fleet maintenance workload models;

Heavy maintenance workload models;

Depot capacity models (where required);

Franchise bids typically require differing bidder focus and objectives each time and we are used to reconfiguring and tuning our tools / models accordingly.

We perform research and information gathering, planning and analysis appropriate to the level of detail required for the bid.We deliver a solid cohesive high scoring (including EFQM, RADAR) bid delivery plan that forms a vital foundation stone for the creative elements of the bid that are focused on customer service and revenue generation.

You will gain confidence and certainty in the scoring potential of the crucial rolling stock, maintenance and depots component of the overall bid and its integration with the other key bid delivery plans.You will also gain confidence in the practical deliverability of the rolling stock, depots and maintenance initiatives and programmes.

You may be designing or developing a rolling stock depot and / or stabling facility to support a defined future workload and a set of contractual commitments. You need to be assured that the depot layout and design have been optimised to support delivery of the on-going operational requirements with certainty, and that the contractual commitments can be honoured. You also need to know that they are utilising appropriate technology and practices to reduce operating cost and risk, and that they are maximising the effective use of the available footprint.

We apply expertise and experience in the management and operation of rolling stock fleets and maintenance and servicing facilities to the optimisation of the design to ensure that the depot is configured to perform the typical processes efficiently and effectively, with appropriate headroom and redundancy for disruption and degraded working.We focus on the contracted service delivery requirements and ensure that the basic design supports these requirements through an appropriate combination of design functionality, processes, and working practices.

We develop and work with IPEX tools and mechanics such as:

Workload modelling;

Depot functional modelling;

Evaluation of condition monitoring for critical assets;

Depot capacity models (where required);

Depot Method of Operation procedures;

We use experienced rolling stock and depot operational expertise to translate service provision requirements into depot functional and capacity requirements.Depot design optimisation ensures that depot resilience is maximised for coping with disrupted scenarios and degraded working as well as the anticipated workload level.The functionality and capacity are matched and optimised in alignment with the operational and signalling interfaces with the network and with the contracted depot outputs.

You will gain confidence and certainty that the depot facilities will support the operational workload and the contracted service provision commitments and that capacity and functional capabilities have been designed to maximise resilience and minimise long term operating costs.

You may be an Owner looking to sell your equity in an infrastructure investment or a ROSCO / Investor / Sponsor contemplating the procurement of new build rolling stock or looking to acquire equity in an existing fleet. Alternatively, you may be a Lender looking to explore the potential for investment returns on these infrastructure assets. If you do not have sufficient sector knowledge and wisdom inhouse you may require an expert rolling stock commercial and technical advisor to advise and support you. You might want to understand what investment opportunities exist and be guided on the complex industry mechanics and how they might be anticipated to take effect as the political and economic terrain emerges. You might need assurances on the industry business and technical factors in order to expect secure investment returns and you may want to gain a detailed understanding of potential risks and opportunities. As an Owner, Sponsor, Lender or Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) you may require provision of a complete due diligence package for the end-to-end rolling stock procurement process up to contract close and perhaps ongoing call-off technical support and asset management services, through-life.

We combine our technical and commercial engineering expertise in the UK and European rail markets with our extensive experience in rolling stock fleet management and strategy, new build rolling stock procurement and existing fleet acquisition transactions. We utilise our knowledge of new developments and trends in the rolling stock market to advise on funding rates, capital costs, ongoing whole life operational and maintenance costs, and we can guide you through the complex interfaces with railway operations and fixed infrastructure and which prevail upon rolling stock lease arrangements. We can provide asset valuations, anticipated lease rates and projected competitor indifference rates underpinned with detailed sensitivity analyses that challenge the variables within the model, drawing out and characterising potential investment risks. We can provide concise analysis and assurance to lender groups through presentations, Q&A sessions and due diligence reports, with appropriate reliance. We are also highly experienced in assessing contractual frameworks associated with rolling stock procurements including Manufacture and Supply Agreement (MSA), Train Services Agreement (TSA), Technical Support and Spares Supply Agreement (TSSSA), depot access and lease agreements, as well as long-term Manufacturer / Maintainer maintenance collaboration agreements. Following contract closure and during the manufacturing and fleet introduction phase, we can offer further support including Client’s Representative for risk reviews, design sign-off, first unit inspections, commissioning reviews and through-life asset management.

We develop and work with IPEX mechanics such as:

  • UK and European rolling stock equity shareholders 5-year timetable;
  • Indifference lease rate and sensitivity modelling (used to assess the influence of changes to variables such as capital costs, funding rates and whole life operational costs);
  • IPEX confidential datasets (not publicly available), for benchmarking and guidance on:
    • Capital costs;
    • Funding rates;
    • Barrier costs (i.e. cost to an Operator for introduction of a new / replacement fleet);
    • Operational costs (Variable Usage Charge (VUC), energy, whole-life maintenance);
    • Projected future fleet upgrading and updating investment costs (to align and comply with new legislation or emerging technology advances);
  • IPEX dataset covers a wide range of fleet compositions, including light rail, EUMs, DMUs, DEMUs, bi-modes, hybrids, locomotives and loco-hauled stock, from both recent and historic rolling stock procurement activities (including both successful and unsuccessful bids);
  • Broad IPEX team experience, providing extensive knowledge and understanding of required technical specifications and potential future upgrading and updating investments required to comply with UK railway standards and legislation;
  • Standard templates and comparators for due diligence reporting and reviewing contractual frameworks such as MSA, TSA, TSSSA and rolling stock leases.

Phase 1 – Assessment of investment opportunities, selection of lenders, bidding, selection as preferred financier. 
We provide technical and commercial support throughout the non-binding offer phase. With initial diligence reports and negotiation support, we will assist the client through to the short list for preferred bidders. We then continue to provide our client with information and more detailed analysis leading to a defensible and accurate binding bid or Lenders offering through to the final selection of preferred financier.

Phase 2 – Contractualisation (following selection as preferred bidder)
As technical advisor to the Owner, Sponsor, Lender or SPV, we provide detailed reviews of core contracts, typically including; MSA, TSA, TSSSA, lease, depot access agreements, grant agreements (GA) and joint project management agreements. We build relationships and work closely with all interested parties in the deal including Operators, Manufacturers, Lenders, Legal Advisors and Joint Project Managers, acting in the interests of our client up to contract close. We also provide final underwritten technical and commercial due diligence reports, which are risk based and seek to provide assurance and confidence to the lenders involved in the project.

Phase 3 – Deployment (post contract close)
During fleet design and manufacture we provide ongoing monitoring by conducting risk reviews and escalating any issues requiring intervention with recommended solutions, particularly events that may prejudice the timely fleet delivery through to satisfaction of the MSA. We also participate in design reviews and provide a statement on behalf of the Owner to the Manufacturer, as well as undertaking first unit inspections and validation of pre-acceptance commissioning.

Phase 4 – Asset management (ongoing through fleet life)
Following acceptance into service, we provide ongoing assessment and monitoring of asset performance and benchmarking against industry best practice, escalating any issues requiring intervention. We also provide whole-life asset management services, including provision of fleet improvement strategies to ensure ongoing compliance with industry standards and legislation, and review of plans and specifications for mid-life refurbishments or traction system modifications to mitigate any threat of potential displacement posed by competitor fleets. Finally, we provide support for re-leasing, end of life de-commissioning and recycling support, where required.

Whether you are an Owner, Sponsor, Lender or SPV, you will gain confidence and assurance in your investment decisions and expected returns, as well as a detailed understanding of the asset, its operating environment and the mechanics of the rail sector. You will also appreciate and understand fully how to mitigate any risks to future returns on your investment including potential changes to the sector economic or political terrain or the operating parameters; rolling stock technology advances and new legislation; and potential threats from competitors.