How we helped Infrabel digitize the Belgian railway network

Responsible for the construction, maintenance and operation of the Belgian railway network, Infrabel was faced with an ambitious roadmap to further modernize its signalization system in order to continue ensuring traffic safety. This introduced a large number of projects that needed to be managed and implemented in an efficient way. In 2013, Infrabel turned to Threon to take on this challenging assignment. 

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Challenge

In a first stage of this long-term track, there were 3 main objectives imposed by Infrabel:

  • better portfolio performance (more insight into project portfolio status and resource allocation);
  • higher efficiency in project delivery (more focus on the scope, time, quality and costs of projects);
  • Thorough professionalization and streamlining of its current project management approach.

To achieve these goals, a project management office (PMO) program was established.

Solution

Infrabel is facing a new way of digitizing its infrastructure, so it was very important to define the scope and objectives of the implementation program first. To begin with, we carried out a benefit realization process, in which we aligned Infrabel’s goals with the required projects and organizational changes. To validate the feasibility of the ETCS roadmap, we developed and started executing a long-term capacity plan by 2020 with a special focus on resource management.

Finally, we successfully optimized project delivery due dates at the project execution level. The development of a well-managed scope and a clear focus on project dependencies and stakeholder governance made this possible.

Results

At this stage, Infrabel already has:

  • equipped their railways with an automatic braking system (TBL1+);
  • installed a monthly reporting plan with the management;
  • established a priority setting process that involves its headquarters in Brussels collaborating with the regional offices
  • 17 PMO processes in place;
  • 33 reports and 607 schedules at its disposal through enterprise project management (EPM);
  • performed 3 updates of its long-term capacity planning.

Next steps

Armed with this new way of working, Infrabel is prepared to handle the challenges of the rollouts to come. With 600 projects to be completed by the end of 2022, they will rely heavily on this improved work approach. Managing programs and projects efficiently, continuously involving stakeholders and making sure the necessary resources are available will drive the successful deployment of ETCS and ensure the next level of security on our railways.

About Infrabel

Founded in 2005, Infrabel is a government-owned company that builds, owns, maintains and upgrades Belgium’s railway network, which consists of around 3,500 kilometers of tracks, 1,751 crossings, 4,180 switches and 11,769 civil engineering structures. It is also responsible for managing traffic control, and is one of Belgium’s key employers, with 10,935 employees. It invests approximately EUR 0,9 billion in railway infrastructure annually.