GRIP Process

Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) describes how Network Rail manages and controls projects that enhance or renew the national rail network. Railway station and line opening proposals and projects need to follow this process to be delivered.

GRIP divides a project into eight distinct stages. The overall approach is product rather than process driven, and within each stage an agreed set of products are delivered.

  1. Output definition
  2. Feasibility
  3. Option selection
  4. Single option development
  5. Detailed design
  6. Construction, test and commission
  7. Scheme handback
  8. Project close out

The notes below provide further details of the eight stages. You are advised to engage a professional consultancy and Network Rail if you are seriously considering a project. The notes in italics provide an indication of how the GRIP process would apply to a proposed railway station.

GRIP Stage 1 – Output definition

Define the needs and requirements of the project.

The output could be demand for a new railway station in an area.

GRIP Stage 2 – Feasibility

Define scope and identify constraints. Can the outputs be delivered economically and in line with current network proposals/strategy. Define the preferred option and produce some outline designs.

The outline business case for a new railway station is produced. It could also rule out the railway station.

GRIP Stage 3 – Option selection

Develops the options for resolving the constraints identified in stage 2. It assesses and the most appropriate option that delivers the requirements is determined. It confirms that the outputs can be economically delivered.

The full business case for a new railway station is produced. This could also rule out the railway station.

GRIP Stage 4 – Single option development

The work for the most appropriate option selected in stage 3 commences to create the outline design.

Outline designs are produced. Technical or legal issues that can cancel an option or a project are usually identified by this point.

GRIP Stage 5 – Detailed design

The full design to which the project will be built is produced. This includes cost and time estimates.

The detailed designs for the railway station are produced. 

GRIP Stage 6 – Construction, test and commission

Project is built to the design and specification detailed in stage 5. It is tested and commisioned into use.

The railway station is built, tested and commissioned.

GRIP Stage 7 – Scheme Handback

The result of the project (usually called an asset) is handed over to the operator and maintainance team.

Network Rail, the train operator and other relevant authorities are engaged to receive ownership of the railway station

GRIP Stage 8 – Project close out

Project is formally closed with the contracts settled.

Contracts are settled and warranties agreed. Benefit assessments commence. Project team disbands.

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    1. Good morning John

      I am not aware of any of the products of the Governance for Railway Investment Projects being ranked as A, B or N. I would suggest having discussions with Network Rail or a consultancy who produce GRIP reports.

      Kind regards


  1. Dear Peter,

    I am researching Investment Processes (including RIBA Plan of Work 2013 and GRIP) as part of my university studies.

    Please may I ask why there is no tendering stage within GRIP?

    I believe that the reason is because the construction is undertaken by National Rail and not through external tenders/contractors. Is this correct?

    Any help would be most appreciated.

    Thank you.
    Kind regards,

    1. Hi Dino,

      I personally think that the reason for no tendering is that the stages of GRIP are tendered out by the authority leading the project to appropriate consultants and contractors. This can be Network Rail or it could be a Local Authority.

      There are different ways of involving contractors who build railway stations, which could include include involving them early in the process of design.

      External contractors appear common for building new railway stations.

      For further contributions, I would recommend adding your question to where there are a few contributors with a lot of experience on this matter.



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