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Network Rail selects Carillon for 7,000km of UK rail track renewal

British integrated support services company Carillion announced on Monday that it has been awarded a five year contract to carry out GBP100m of track renewal work by the operator of Britain’s rail infrastructure, Network Rail, as part of its GBP25bn investment programme.

As one of three preferred partners for the railway network company, Carillion will renew 7,000km of plain line track in the Midlands into the North West, and from Kings Cross to the North East of England. The company expects to sign the contract in June this year.

Chief executive of Carillion, Richard Howson, commented: “We are delighted to have been selected for this major programme of track renewals. As one of Network Rail’s largest suppliers, we look forward to building on our strong relationship by working in partnership to deliver these important enhancements in order to keep pace with demand and to supporting Network Rail in achieving its objectives of creating a more reliable railway for passengers and freight.”

Network Rail also reported that under its current five-year funding period, which runs from April 2014 to March 2019, its track renewal project is divided into three specific work streams: plain line (conventional); switches and crossings; and plain line (high output).

The other two preferred bidders for the plain line (conventional) contracts are Babcock, which has won a five year contract valued at GBP200m to renew tracks in Western, Wales and Wessex / Scotland / LNW South; and Colas, which will deliver track renewal in Kent, Sussex / Anglia for GBP75m over five years.

Renewal of switches and crossings will be carried out by a pre-formed alliance of Amey Sersa, in the North and Scotland, and Colas URS in the Southern areas of Anglia, Kent and Sussex, Western, Wales and Wessex. Both infrastructure support service providers have been awarded contracts valued at up to GBP400m over the next ten years.

Plain line, high output, track renewals are not being re-tendered, as Network Rail stated that will take direct control by insourcing its principal contractor team when the existing contract expires in March 2015. The company said disruption to service is minimised with high output track renewals, because more track is replaced while trains run safely on adjacent lines. Network Rail’s large, automated ‘factory trains’ are used for high output track renewal, with renewals completed overnight, five nights a week on the network. Approximately 65% of all track replaced on the network is reportedly carried out by the high output team.

According to Steve Featherstone, Network Rail track programme director: “Today, there are a million more trains on our network than a decade ago and that number increases every year. Working with our delivery partners, we will deliver a massive programme of work to maintain, renew and enhance thousands of miles of track over the next five years, with the goal of providing a more reliable railway for passengers and freight.”


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