UK: Network Rail Announces Preferred Bidders for £1.5bn Track Contracts

Network Rail has announced the final preferred bidder for delivery of track upgrade works for the next decade in Central England. It includes track, points, and associated overhead lines and signalling, and is worth an estimated £1.5bn over 10 years.

The latest contract award covers work in London North West, London North East and East Midlands routes and has been awarded to Balfour Beatty, TSO and SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business. This follows an announcement earlier this year confirming Babcock Rail, Arup and Arcadis as the preferred bidders for Scotland and Colas Rail and AECOM for the South, completing the full picture of rail system work in the UK.

The announcement is subject to contract terms being finalised and agreed, but marks the final 10-year contract (initial 5-year period with an option to extend) of three new geographically-focused alliances between Network Rail, designers and construction suppliers.

Steve Featherstone, Network Rail’s programme director Track, said: “I look forward to working closely with Balfour Beatty, TSO and Atkins to establish our new alliance to deliver great value for the taxpayer and great service for our passengers and freight customers. Reaching this important milestone ensures we will have a stable foundation for the delivery of the core railway infrastructure across Great Britain for the next decade.”

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive, said: “As one of the UK’s leading rail infrastructure suppliers, Balfour Beatty is proud to be part of the alliance appointed to ensure reliability of the UK’s rail network. Our expertise will be focused on driving innovative solutions that deliver sustainable, safer rail infrastructure.

“We believe that industry collaboration is the way to drive higher efficiency and service standards. Network Rail’s new alliance model is a great step forward in rail contract procurement.”

Jean Bernadet, CEO of TSO and Deputy General Manager of NGE, said: “I am absolutely delighted TSO expertise is being recognised through this award. This project is a very important milestone for TSO and a great opportunity to demonstrate our expertise on track renewals and strong ability to innovate, providing a fresh look from several countries where TSO is operating.

“TSO is fully committed to delivering major improvements to Britain’s railways, together with Atkins, Balfour Beatty and Network Rail.”

Philip Hoare, CEO of Atkins UK & Europe, said: “This is a significant and exciting appointment for Atkins as part of an alliance helping to deliver the biggest upgrade to Britain’s railways in 150 years.

“As an industry we’re embracing new collaborative ways of working and the application of technology to meet the needs of passenger and freight services alike.”

it was disclosed that “Network Rail’s delivery arm for renewals and projects, Infrastructure Projects (IP) currently organises itself into four regional areas – Scotland North East, Central, Southern and Western and Wales, and national programmes for Signalling, Track and the pan regional Northern Programme.

“Following an extensive review, Network Rail is making changes in how it operates. The proposal is a new model for the organisation; one that will better align with train operators and franchises, consisting of 13 routes with responsibility for delivery of its operations, maintenance and renewals. The routes will be supported by five Network Rail regions – Scotland, Wales & Western, London North Western, Southern and Eastern. The Putting Passengers First programme will not impact the frameworks and contracts we have committed to in the current organisation. Routes have been fully engaged throughout the procurement process, with Route Managing Directors signing off CP6 strategies. More information on Putting Passengers First here.

“The tender and procurement process for CP6 was intentionally phased to help improve efficiency for both Network Rail and the supply chain.The framework award is one of the most substantial of Network Rail’s CP6 contracts to be let following the Office of Rail and Road’s final determination, which confirmed £35bn of funding for rail maintenance and renewals”,tho Network Rail statement concluded.

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