Network Rail has declared Amey Colas as its preferred bidder for a new £250M contract to operate and maintain its fleet of high-tech, high-output track renewal systems.
The contract will see more than 2,500km of track - nearly 30% of Network Rail’s total renewals workload - renewed and replaced over the next four years, with £85M in cost savings identified.
The Amey Rail and Colas joint venture beat bids from Balfour Beatty (in joint venture with Sersa and Bahn Bau), Babcock Rail (in joint venture with Swietelsky and Volker Rail (in joint venture with Leonhard Weiss).
Network Rail director of infrastructure investment Simon Kirby said: “We are committed to delivering a high-performance railway for passengers and freight users. Technological innovation combined with commercial rigour is key to securing this.”
Through modern machinery and efficient automation methods, Network Rail’s high-output systems can replace between 400m and 600m of track and ballast within eight hours, significantly reducing costs and disruption to passengers and freight users.
Network Rail currently operates three high-output systems consisting of high-output ballast cleaners which renew ballast to maintain a smooth ride, high-output track renewals trains and other support machinery and plant.
The company is expecting delivery of a fourth high-output system in December 2010.
The contract will be set up under a framework agreement with annual packages of work awarded for the operation and maintenance of each high-output system. The framework creates incentives to improve performance and increase efficiencies that deliver the targets set by the Office of Rail Regulation.
The contract is due to start on 1 January 2010.
In total the framework contract will cover four separate high-output systems - each with its own geographical base.
The framework replaces existing contracts for operation and maintenance of systems with First Swietelsky and Fastline, both of which have reached the end of their contract period.