It has been a year and a half since COWI won its biggest contract ever – the automation of Copenhagen’s train system, which will help set completely new standards for the future of automated rail networks. And now the project is taking off.
The S-trains in the Copenhagen area are reaching the end of their life cycle, and it was politically decided to upgrade and automate the trains. As the program owner, DSB has set up a strong program management and demanded the same when tendering for consultancy assistance.
COWI joined as the lead in a joint venture-tender together with Systra, Parsons and Implement Consulting – and in December 2020, won the ambitious assignment as the single biggest contract in COWI’s 90+ years history.
The project is one of the most radical improvements of public transport in Denmark in recent decades, and it is bringing COWI into the premier league, says Sidsel Stabell Hoppe, Senior Vice President in Transportation in COWI Denmark.
“We made a considerable investment to land the contract, and it is paying off in several ways. With this project we move to the top of the value chain as consultants. The volume and the complexity of the project is unprecedented for us and requires technology we have not used before, which adds to the continuous development of our competences.”
High demands and complexity
That statement is supported by Project Director in Railways and Metro in COWI Denmark Klavs Wassard Hestbek Lund, who has been Program Manager on behalf of the joint venture since 1 November 2021. He confirms that it is definitely a project that puts many competencies in play.
“The whole joint venture takes great pride in this project, and we see how Systra and Parsons put their best people on it. There is a lot of buzz around the project,” says Klavs Wassard Hestbek Lund, who also praises the cooperation within the joint venture.
“When entering a long-term project as complex as this one, it is an advantage being a team of strong partners. We have defined the delivery model to match the complexity of the project and give us the necessary professional depth and coverage. In the joint venture, we have an agreement: Whoever has the best competences, gets the task. That is the only way for us to deliver on a project of this scale,” Klavs Wassard Hestbek Lund explains.
Setting new standards for future rail systems
Jesper Andersen, Vice President, Future Train, DSB, has headed the ambitious program since the early tendering phase.
”The Future S-Network Program is both by complexity and size unique also in a global context. Consequently, DSB and our project team must perform at highest level throughout the full programme execution to succeed. When completed in 2039, the new fully automated and climate friendly system will become an even stronger and more commercially viable public transport offer that can accommodate population growth and catalyse sustainable urbanisation in the Greater Copenhagen Area.”