The U.K.’s 640-km historic West Coast Main Line (WCML), originally built in the 1880s, extends from London’s Euston Station to Scotland, passing through Birmingham, Manchester, and Liverpool. The line, 640 km (397 miles) in length, is one of Europe’s busiest mixed-traffic railways, with more than 2,500 train movements each day, and catering to more than 75 million passengers a year—43 percent of Britain’s rail traffic.
By the end of the 20th Century, the WCML was due for an upgrade. The West Coast Route Modernization (WCRM) began in 1997. But by early 2002, with costs spiraling and schedules slipping, the UK Government and Network Rail asked Bechtel to restructure the project and develop a new plan, which would also include tilting trains running at up to 124 miles (200km) per hour. 110 Bechtel staff were integrated into the client’s team of 1,200, taking the lead in managing project delivery.