SPL Powerlines – Midland Main Line KO1A

Digitising possessions with eviFile’s progressive assurance

Executive Summary

SPL Powerlines UK (SPL) is working with eviFile to digitise the London to Wigston, L2W project – part of the Midland Main Line electrification (MMLe) upgrade – and is integral to SPL Powerlines – quality assurance checks across every discipline.

By collaborating closely with SPL Powerlines, eviFile has been able to create a completely digital solution for all quality assurance and referrals, streamlining the reporting process, and ultimately improving quality of construction.


SPL Powerlines is one of the leading rail electrification businesses in the UK, employing around 300 people. The company is an experienced overhead line contractor capable of carrying out all aspects of overhead line construction and maintenance – from foundation level to commissioning, or any mixture of these disciplines, on all rail networks.

Initiated by Network Rail, SPL Powerlines is working on the MMLe upgrade project – a £1.5bn improvement scheme which includes electrification of the line, upgrades to bridges and tunnels, remodelling of stations along the route, and line speed enhancements.

Originally opened in 1870 and consisting of 397 miles (639km) of track, 16 tunnels and 35 stations, the line connects London St Pancras with Sheffield – passing though Luton, Bedford, Corby, Leicester, East Midlands Parkway, Derby, Nottingham, and Chesterfield.

Under the scope of works, SPL Powerlines has electrified the section of line running from London to Corby via Kettering, as well as L2W – providing traction power upgrades and electrification extension from Kettering to Wigston. This also includes a significant OLE immunisation upgrade within the existing electrified area, from London to Bedford to enable more electric trains per hour.

These vital upgrade works are designed to increase passenger capacity on the MMLe route as well as reducing journey times. Once complete, the track’s carbon footprint will be lessened by up to 11,000t, thanks to the introduction of ‘greener’, electric trains.

The Challenge

The rail industry has been slower than other sectors to digitise. SPL Powerlines previously relied on traditional approaches to construction management, such as working from paper copies or spreadsheets stored on central databases. The process was disjointed and inconsistent when trying to piece together, for example, notes on materials, photos of works online and annotated drawings on paper.

This meant that visibility into works was limited, and quality could be compromised, resulting in teams returning to sites to remedy defects caused during previous visits – a waste of time and resources.

In turn, project managers found themselves with copious amounts of administrative tasks and paperwork, which had a knock-on effect to their capacity, in terms of overseeing contractors in real-time. With reports on progress due every period – and 13 periods making up a year – the majority of time would be spent compiling information from different locations and manually creating reports, thus only adding to the time spent in the office, and not on the ground.

While moving these processes to a digital platform would help significantly and reduce the amount of admin time, SPL Powerlines were up against resistant attitudes towards using technology – much like other contractors.

Many engineers were happy with the traditional process and did not see the value in using a digital system to compile everything into one place. However, key stakeholders knew that such a solution would improve efficiency, reduce costs, and produce higher quality work.

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The Solution

As a result, eviFile has been deployed on L2W – which was descoped from the wider project KO1 – to provide instant data across disciplines, covering everything from quality assurance, referrals, and daily site checks/permits.

Designed to give SPL Powerlines complete visibility of the status of any single element of the project, each structural overview provides a complete ‘golden thread of information’ of how, when, and where, each asset has been constructed.

Every single asset within the scope of works has all the necessary digital information stored within the eviFile platform – from initial design to end construction – including drawings, quality check sheets, inspection test plans and permit to digs.

To ensure ease of access in the field, all documentation and supporting evidence is gathered and inputted on the eviFile app via a mobile device, creating a digital audit trail for every activity. By completely eradicating the use of paper, project teams ensure every bit of data collected on site is logged, securely encrypted, and GPS stamped.

The whole process is mapped and managed within the eviFile platform and held in a single database which can be shared, exported, or presented in a common data environment within seconds.

Simon Skinner, Engineering Director for SPL Powerlines has estimated that nearly 7 million checks were completed using eviFile to fully assure L2Ce, digitising the delivery to support the Entry into Service requirements, a Form E, only when all assurance tasks were in a satisfactory position.
Not only that, but issues, snags, and non-conformity requests can be collected by an engineer in real-time. These problems can then be taken through a separate workflow process – streamlining their progression to approval. As a result, any project hurdles – and potential delays – are not only allocated, tracked, and managed towards completion in real-time, but remain digitally-linked to the main asset.

As well as this, all data reporting is in real-time through eviFile’s Power BI reporting suite – showing planned progress vs. actual, while also delivering project-based business information analytics in seconds. If needed, changes can be made instantaneously, and reports delivered rapidly.
SPL Powerlines entire project team, and the client, has access to a suite of out-of-the-box tools, while eviFile’s highly flexible system allows all forms, workflows, and attachments to be easily tailored to the customer’s needs though a configurable control panel.

With SPL Powerlines working towards a 10% reduction for MMLe project carbon by 2024, eviFile’s quality assurance credentials are further bolstered by the platform’s ability to drive down snagging while improving sustainability credentials.

While the electrification project itself goes a long way towards decarbonising our railways and achieving carbon net zero, the eviFile platform further bolsters the reduction of the delivery’s footprint.

Deployment of the Software as a Service (SaaS) solution helps to lessen carbon emissions, cut down on the amount of paper used, reduce the number of necessary site visits, and curtail rework – key metrics in any net zero initiative.

As a result of the successful delivery, SPL Powerlines is planning to roll-out eviFile on further projects in England.


  • Assurance checks can run in parallel to the build, reducing admin time
  • Reduced costs and significant timesaving
  • Improved efficiencies
  • Increased visibility across the project
  • Improved quality of construction
  • Reduced site visits to close referrals
  • Streamlines the reporting process
  • Accommodates quick timelines – from set-up to implementation.

Interested in discovering how eviFile can improve productivity and ensure compliance for your upcoming rail projects?

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