Ten years of track work starts this month with invitations to tender

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Network Rail is inviting suppliers to tender for the next generation of track work contracts, the largest of its kind being undertaken for the upcoming funding period.

Signalling the start of the tender process, which is valued at up to £5bn, a Contract Notice has been issued in the Official Journal of the European Union opening the contracts up to interested suppliers. These contracts cover 10 years of railway track works starting next year, and introduce three new geographically-focused alliances between Network Rail, designers and construction suppliers.

The East Midlands is part of the ‘Central Alliance’ group. Each will combine the development, design and delivery of plain line track and switches and crossings, as well as associated infrastructure works for each area. This step sees plain line and switches and crosses brought together operationally and commercially as a means of delivering infrastructure works more efficiently and effectively for customers. This move is a key component of Network Rail’s Infrastructure Projects CP6 procurement strategy, which aims to promote collaborative arrangements with the supply chain that offer better value for money for devolved route customers.

Steve Featherstone, Network Rail’s director for Track said: “Combining our plain line expertise with that of switches and crossings will bring huge benefits to both our route customers and the wider supply chain. The proven alliance model offers a flexible and cost-effective solution with a greater focus on each route’s specific requirements and needs.”

The maintenance and renewal of Britain’s 20,000 miles of track forms part of Network Rail’s Railway Upgrade Plan, which sees £130m invested every single week on improvements for passengers. As a result, by 2019 there will be an extra 170,000 seats into major cities across the country every single day, with 6,400 extra train services and 5,500 new train carriages – a 30% increase in capacity. Journeys will be quicker, trains will run more frequently and it will be more comfortable on board under the biggest programme of rail modernisation since the Victorian era.

Given the large scale and long-term nature of the contracts, prospective bidders will be expected to exhibit their commitment to delivering value through the relentless pursuit of excellence, highly innovative approaches, and a demonstrable track record of success in collaborative environments. Potential bidders are now invited to submit their Expressions of Interest via BravoNR in accordance with the details provided in the Contract Notice. The pre-qualification period for the tender starts this month.