Network Rail announces track delivery partners for 2014-19 investment programme

13 May 2014

Network Rail announces track delivery partners for 2014-19 investment programme

(photo: Network Rail)

There are some interesting changes ahead as Network Rail announces it's next track delivery partners. The most significant change is NR bringing their high output operations in-house.

The new contracts will cover both renewals & enhancements, and are due to be phased in towards the end of summer 2014.

Preferred bidders - plain line contracts (five years)

* Babcock: Western, Wales and Wessex / Scotland / LNW South

* Carillion: LNW North / LNE and East Midlands

* Colas: Kent and Sussex / Anglia

Preferred bidders - S&C contracts (ten years)

* Amey Sersa: North alliance (Scotland / LNE and EM / LNW North)

* Colas URS: South alliance (Anglia / Kent and Sussex / Western, Wales and Wessex / LNW South)

Press Release

Network Rail has today announced the preferred bidders for the delivery of its c.£800m conventional track renewals and enhancements programme for the 2014-19 funding period, as well as a change to the way the company’s growing ‘high output’ track programme will be delivered.

Britain’s railways are busier than ever. Not only are there more trains than ever before, they are also heavier and faster – meaning more frequent maintenance and renewals are needed to keep the tracks in the right condition.

Over the current funding period, which runs from April 2014 to March 2019, Network Rail will renew more than 7,000km of track – enough to stretch from London to Mumbai – as part of a £25bn investment programme to build a bigger, better railway for Britain.

Network Rail’s track strategy is split into three specific work streams: plain line (conventional); switches and crossings; and plain line (high output). Following a competitive procurement process, three bidders – Babcock, Carillion and Colas – have been successful in winning work across seven geographic lots to deliver conventional plain line track works worth around £375m in total over the five year period.

Switches and crossings (S&C) renewals will be delivered using an ‘alliance’ approach, combining the skills of designer, installer and Network Rail. Tenderers bid as pre-formed alliances with two – Amey Sersa and Colas URS – each winning work on one of two larger alliance areas worth up to £400m over the next ten years. The alliance model means Network Rail and its delivery partners will work together with aligned goals and objectives to efficiently deliver S&C works.

Steve Featherstone, Network Rail track programme director, said: “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.”

Also today, Network Rail has announced it will not be re-tendering the contract for the delivery of its national high output track renewals programme. Instead it will be taking direct control by insourcing its principal contractor team when the existing contract expires in March 2015. High output track renewals allow Network Rail to replace more and more track while allowing trains to run safely on adjacent lines, minimising disruption to services.

Bringing in house the high output team currently employed by AmeyCOLAS will create a less complex organisation with greater stability. It will support Network Rail's commitment to further improvements in workforce safety, train performance and value for money and enable long term investment in people and machinery to support Network Rail's track renewals programme. Around 1,200 people work on the high output programme, around half of whom are affected by this announcement.

Steve Featherstone continued: "Our full-time, professional high output track renewals workforce is fundamental to delivering a safe, reliable railway. By creating a single team within Network Rail we can make step changes in training and development in order to further improve safety and productivity within this key part of the industry.”

High output track renewal involves large, automated 'factory trains' which are owned by Network Rail and typically each work five nights a week on the network. The renewals are completed overnight with regular trains passing on adjacent lines. Network Rail’s operation comprises five ballast cleaning systems and two track relaying systems. Around 65% of all track replaced on the network is completed by the high output team.


Network Rail press release.



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  • Sam Burke

    Sam Burke

    What does this mean for larger OTM fleets like Balfour Beatty and Volker?

  • Babcock Employee avatar

    Babcock Employee

    Balfour's announced before the tendering, that they were scaling back their european rail operations. The plant contracts were 7 years long and I think they are only 2 years old. Volker didn't have any renewals contracts, possibly some project work.

  • Mr Whites Apprentice

    Mr Whites Apprentice

    From an OTM point of view, suspect it will be business as usual for the likes of BB. Renewals will still need a tamper to attend and smash stuff up....sorry tamp. Only change that might affect the Blues and Whites in particular , will be if there is more use of the TRT (Track Renewal Train, or Train Ruins Timetables) or HOBC

    Being currently an AmeyColas toy (until 2015), when the TRT & HOBC were on the Wessex recently, they invariably had a Colas tamper & reggie in attendance, as opposed to a Balfours machine, which is what you normally see on the wessex.

    Who knows who will get the gig when it goes back in house (or indeed who gets the contract to haul the TRT/HOBC to/from site)?

    As they seem to get everything else, reckon it will be Colas Railfreight (sorry for going away from OTM's!)

  • Mr Whites Apprentice

    Mr Whites Apprentice

    Also the tamper contracts may be 7 yrs long in theory.....but there are six monthly reviews, so in theory any company could get kicked off, IF , big IF, they managed to upset NR enough and didn't tug the forelock sufficiently....

  • Bryan Blundell

    Bryan Blundell

    6 to 4 a number of years back.

    Is this the 3 to 2 latest version?

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