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Architects scoop £8.8bn rail design work bonanza

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WS Atkins, Acanthus Lawrence & Wrightson, Pascall + Watson, Ruddle Wilkinson, and Design Research Unit have won huge transport infrastructure deals following landmark decisions on the future of the London Underground and Crossrail.

Stephen Byers cleared the Public Private Partnership (PPP) deal for the London Underground last week. The part privatisation of the network promises £16 billion of investment in the creaking system over 15 years. The operation of the trains will remain in the public sector, but the maintenance and refurbishment of the rest of the system will be carried out by the private sector. Two consortia will be responsible for this - Tube Lines and Metronet. Some £3.5 billion has been earmarked for station development.

WS Atkins - the UK's second largest practice in last year's AJ100 - will deal with most of the design work for Metronet. The group will be responsible for the Circle and District, Metropolitan, Bakerloo, Victoria and Central lines. A spokesperson for WS Atkins told the AJ: 'We have a huge level of design experience in this area and will deal with a significant amount of the design.'

Tube Lines has appointed Acanthus Lawrence & Wrightson to deal with the design for the Piccadilly line; Pascall + Watson for the Jubilee line;

and Ruddle Wilkinson for the Northern line. A spokesperson for Tube Lines said the total value of the design work for the three lines is expected to be in the region of £450 million.

Meanwhile, Lambeth practice Design Research Unit has won the commission to design the Crossrail Line 2 scheme, formerly known as the Chelsea-Hackney Line. The cost of implementing the scheme is projected at around £5.3 billion.

The practice has been briefed to come up with designs for 15 'innovative stations' on the line. The project will improve transport links between north London and south-west London and is intended to act as a catalyst to aid urban regeneration throughout the area.

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