Preferred bidders have been announced by Network Rail for the next generation of rail system in Scotland and the South of England.
The rail system comprises anything that is required to allow the overall network to function, so includes important projects in signalling, overhead line installation, tracks, and points.
Subject to contracts being finalised, projects have been awarded to Colas Rail and AECOM in the South, and for Scotland, the contracts have gone to Arup, Arcadis and Babcock Rail.
The contracts will run for an initial five-year period, which comprises Control Period 6 (CP6). However, Network Rail has provided the option to extend these by a further five years so that any extra work or extension of projects can be accommodated.
Ensuring rail system contracts are in place is an “important milestone,” according to Steve Featherstone, Track’s programme director.
He said: “Reaching this important milestone ensures we will have a stable foundation for the delivery of the Great Britain’s core railway infrastructure for the next decade.
“Our new strategy allows us to better align to the routes and ultimately, deliver for customers.”
Network Rail purposely phased the tender and procurement process for CP6 so that efficiency would be at its optimum and this latest framework award is one of the most substantial contracts to be let, following last year’s final determination from the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), which confirmed £35 billion in funding for rail maintenance and renewals.
The regulator called for greater spending on safety and reliability in the five years from April 2019, which Network Rail has adhered to.
Maintaining the rail system will guarantee safety and certainly improve reliability.
Contracts have been split into three geographically-focused alliances between Network Rail, construction suppliers and designers.
These are the North Alliance – comprising the Scotland route; South Alliance for Anglia, South East, Wessex, Western and Wales routes, which have recently been awarded; and Central Alliance for London North West, London North East and East Midlands route – this bidding process is ongoing.