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Network Rail awards multiple signalling contracts to help improve reliability

Posted: 7 February 2020 | | No comments yet

The five framework contracts awarded by Network Rail will aim to improve reliability, but also reduce delays and increase capacity on the UK’s network.

Network Rail awards multiple signalling contracts to help improve reliability

Credit: Network Rail

In a bid to improve the reliability of Britain’s railways, Network Rail has announced an investment of billions of pounds to develop and improve railway signalling over the next five years. The investment represents the potential to introduce more trains into operation on the UK’s rail network.

Network Rail has awarded five framework contracts that will aim to improve asset reliability and, in turn, reduce delays for the users of the railway and increase capacity on the network. In total, the investments are worth an estimated £2.4 billion over Control Period 6 (2019-2024), and up to £3.6 billion when including options to extend for the first two years of Control Period 7 (2024-2026).

Network Rail’s Commercial Director, Paul Wright, said: “The major signalling frameworks are the final awards in a three-tier approach to signalling delivery for Control Period 6. The awards have gone to suppliers that, between them, have many years of signalling experience and will help Network Rail facilitate key signalling renewals safely and efficiently. We look forward to working with the successful suppliers to deliver signalling projects that are truly on the side of passengers and freight users.”

The framework contracts have been split into five geographical regions and awarded to:

  • Southern and Eastern regions – Alstom
  • Scotland and North West & Central regions – Siemens Mobility Ltd
  • Wales and Western regions – a joint venture between Hitachi Rail STS UK Ltd and Linbrooke Services Ltd. 

Nick Crossfield, Managing Director of Alstom UK and Ireland, said: “Signalling is the backbone of a safe, reliable and high performance rail network for passengers. Alstom are proud to have been trusted by Network Rail to deliver these planned improvements in their two biggest regions over the next four years.”

Crossfield continued: “We will be increasing the use of digital technology and automation, reducing cost and increasing reliability, and building on successful projects such as the Bristol Area Signalling Renewals and Enhancements Alstom delivered in the Western region last year. Inclusivity and diversity are at the heart of our plan, and we look forward to creating hundreds of new highly skilled jobs and up to 270 apprenticeships as we do so.”

Rob Morris, Managing Director Rail Infrastructure for Siemens Mobility Limited, said: “These framework awards are great news. We have an existing, very strong relationship with Network Rail and an outstanding delivery record of which we are extremely proud. We’ve safely and successfully commissioned projects of varying scale and complexity across Britain. This includes using the latest digital technologies in our projects, from Thameslink in London to the Highlands of Scotland, to successfully proving the viability of efficient delivery solutions on the North Wales Coast. All of our work has increased the availability and performance of the railway. As the only supplier of command, control and signalling to have a fully integrated operation in the UK, from research and development through to manufacture, installation, testing and customer service, we have the capability and capacity to fully meet Network Rail’s targets. This is key to making infrastructure intelligent, enhancing the passenger experience and increasing value sustainably over the entire lifecycle.”

Speaking on behalf of the joint venture for the Wales and Western regions, Jim Brewin, UK Country Lead, Hitachi Rail, and Jason Pearce, Managing Director, Linbrooke Rail, said: “On behalf of both organisations, this award is a significant honour and a reflection of our individual companies’ successful track records in supporting UK rail. Working with our Wales and Western Network Rail partners, the consortia intend to deliver industry challenging connectivity and signalling technology for the benefit of passengers. We intend to draw upon Hitachi’s global solutions and products in order to improve people’s quality of life.”

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