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Mowlem pulls out of rail maintenance

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MOWLEM ANNOUNCED last week that it has given up bidding for long- term maintenance contracts with Railtrack after failing to break into the market.

Chief executive John Gains blamed low margins for the decision and said the contractor would concentrate its UK rail activities on project based rail infrastructure work

'It has proved a very difficult market to break into. Our skills are now more appropriately applied to project related work with Railtrack and other rail operators,' said Gains.

The rail maintenance market is dominated by GTRM, Amec, Amey, Balfour Beatty, Jarvis and First Group - the contractors which bought infrastructure maintenance companies from British Rail when it was privatised in 1996.

Mowlem started bidding for track maintenance work when long term contracts with privatised infrastructure maintenance companies started to come up for renewal a year ago.

It had hoped its Australian trackwork subsidiary Barclay Mowlem would pick up some work.

Barclay Mowlem has extensive experience in the Pacific Rim rail sector, notably in Hong Kong where it has the track laying contract for the new Tseung Kwan O subway line.

In the UK, Mowlem also has a track laying contract for section one of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.

DG (UK), the British subsidiary of French rail contractor Seco, has been named preferred bidder for the contract to run Railtrack's second high output track renewal train and ballast cleaner. The three-part contract to specify, manufacture and operate the high output machine on the West Coast Main Line and elsewhere is expected to be completed in the next week. DG (UK) will modify a system used on the continent to suit gauging requirements here.

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