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News from the UK Rail Industry 2nd May 2019

Posted by: Warren Drobac
Industry News

Network Rail rolls out £750 million signalling contracts

Network Rail has announced the winners of six major signalling and telecoms contracts worth a total of £750m across Control Period 6 (CP6).

The two tiers, minor and major signalling, will complete the three-tier strategy for CP6 signalling delivery when they are awarded in June 2019 and January 2020.

VolkerRail, Atkins and Linbrooke have won the framework contracts for London North West, Anglia and Wessex, and London North East respectively, whilst Colas Rail, Siemens Mobility and Babcock Rail have won the Wales, Scotland and Western contracts.

The minor signalling tier is targeted towards simple component replacement, whilst major signalling is focused on major re-signalling and re-control.

Commercial director for signalling Martin Robinson said: “The awards have gone to signalling suppliers that between them, have many years of signalling experience on our railway and will help Network Rail facilitate key signalling renewals over the coming years. The framework’s approach using fewer contractors will help bring them closer to Network Rail and the Routes/Regions and make further progress in working more collaboratively. We will continue to build on the successful relationships we already have with our suppliers and look forward to working with them all going forward.”

Network Rail said the frameworks will deliver projects of varying value, including stand-alone level crossings, stand-alone major telecoms and related civils works.

Kevin Robertshaw, programme director signalling, said: “Our strategy for delivering signalling works in CP6 focuses on bringing the supplier closer to the client and facilitating a more integrated way of working. This is the first of three framework tiers to be awarded and part of a strategy enabling Network Rail and the signalling supply chain to be more innovative, collaborative and effective. I look forward to working with the successful suppliers and making a success of the opportunity ahead of us.” Full story.

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MPs demand £39 billion investment for Northern rail 

MPs have written to chancellor Philip Hammond urging the government to commit to a £39bn down payment for Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR), and deliver the project alongside HS2.

The cross-party letter recommends the government commit to a total of £100bn of transport spending in the north by 2050 for major road and rail projects, alongside a wider package of infrastructure to rebalance the economy.

The northern MPs want TfN’s strategic transport plan delivered, with financial commitment from the government, and they also expressed their desire for transport budgets to be fully devolved to city and metro mayors.

Kevin Hollinrake MP, Chair of the parliamentary group, said: “As well as faster journey times, enhanced capacity and greater frequency, NPR would provide opportunities for our young people to secure the skilled jobs we need to drive productivity and link up the great cities of the north to stimulate economic growth.

“It is vital that NPR is delivered to the north alongside HS2, to create a high-speed network for the whole of the country and open up labour markets that are currently not accessible for young people across the north today. With HS2 and NPR it is not a case of either/or – we need both.”

The letter states that NPR must be delivered at the same time as HS2 arrives in Leeds and Manchester, which is scheduled to be 2032, in order to realise its full impact.

Director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership Henri Murison said: “The first downpayment we need on the overall long-term need of £120bn for major Northern Powerhouse specific transport and city region schemes, is £39bn for Northern Powerhouse Rail. Business and civic leaders stand firmly behind our parliamentarians on a cross party basis making the case for the key investment that the north needs, to grow our economy and close the north-south divide.” Full story.

Network Rail unveils £14 million freight extension

Network Rail have unveiled a £14m rail freight extension in the Peak District to boost construction productivity and take lorries off the road.

As part of the Great North Rail Project, the investment means freight firms can increase their number of wagons on each train from 18 to 26, which will allow up to 2,500 tonnes of stone to be transported during each load.

Martin Frobisher, MD of Network Rail’s London Northern Western route, said that the upgrade will provide a boost to the construction sector through greater productivity and improve the local environment. The rail freight upgrade will reduce reliance on lorries which cause congestion and produce CO2 emissions, with each freight train taking 76 lorries off local roads and every tonne of freight carried by rail cuts carbon emissions by 76%.

Head of industrial sales for DB Cargo UK Andrew Sumner said: “This is a significant development for rail freight in the Peak District and will go a long way to relieve some of the constraints we face in the area. This is another example of a successful partnership approach between operators, industry bodies and stakeholders working together to develop and innovate the industry - we are stronger together.”

Adam Cunliffe, Freightliner chief commercial officer, agreed, saying: “The extended sidings at Buxton mean that we can run longer trains with more wagons, helping deliver an increase in the movement of freight by rail in the area and all the associated economic and environmental benefits that brings.” Full story.

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