Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne has told New Civil Engineer that tier 1 contractors are key to successfully developing enhancements projects in CP6.
The reassurance comes as Network Rail’s major CP6 shake up means any enhancement work will have to find funding outside of the allocated £49bn cash for the funding period 2019 to 2024. There are currently few enhancement projects expected to come to market in the next two to three years, with the £3bn trans-Pennine project being carried over from CP5, rather than being a new project for CP6.
Instead, for CP6, £1bn has been set aside for projects to be developed to a point of “cost certainty” before they are tendered, a move some industry insiders have told New Civil Engineer could see work drying up for tier 1 contractors.
But Carne said early contractor involvement was “very much key to our success” and that “quite a lot” of the £1bn would be spent with contractors to develop new schemes.
“The alliances we have been in with our contractors, they have very much been a success and some of our best performing projects,” said Carne. “Where you bring that innovation in and bring innovation in early.
“Quite a lot of the £1bn will be spent with our contractor community.”
Carne said the initial planning work that had gone into the Transpenine Route upgrade was excellent example of where pre-planning would result in an improved outcome.
“It’s much better to spend two years thinking about it before you build it,” said Carne. “It’ll be a better, cheaper, faster railway because of that investment in it.”