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Floor opened to frustrated rail suppliers

Network Rail

Would-be suppliers to Network Rail are being urged to explain to a new review the barriers to working on its infrastructure projects.

Chaired by past ICE president Peter Hansford and backed by a panel of newly-appointed leading rail industry figures, the review aims to uncover the barriers to innovation and project delivery that deter potential suppliers from getting involved in Network Rail infrastructure projects. The deadline for responses is 31 January.

The review was commissioned by Network Rail but is being carried out on an entirely independent basis.

Hansford said the key word was the economic term ‘contestability’, referring to a market with no costs for entry or exit.

“We’re aiming to identify what barriers there are to private investment and alternative delivery,” said Hansford.

Hansford said that some companies and organisations currently find the process of working with Network Rail expensive and time consuming so that it almost goes into the “too difficult box”. The aim of the review is to uncover the reasons for this, including areas such as the impact of procedures and the asset protection regime.

Submissions can be made via email to: peterhansfordreview@nichols.uk.com.

It will report to the Network Rail board later in the spring and anything taken from the confidential evidence submitted will be unattributed.

Review panel

The panel members of the Hansford Review are:

• Keolis chief executive Alistair Gordon

• Amey chief executive Andy Milner

• GB Railfreight managing director John Smith

• Concerto partner Matthew Symes

• Mike Gerrard – independent expert

• Carillion performance improvement director Zara Lamont

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