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NCE Live News Updates Monday 28 October 2013: Storms leave huge job for Network Rail

More than 200 trees down in strong winds overnight, causing widespread rail disruption

2pm: Amey has secured its first major contract in Australia. 

The contractor is part of a consortium awarded an Aus$135M (£80M) road maintenance deal by the Queensland Government.

Working with local firms Leighton Contractors and Boral Construction Materials, will maintain and improve more than 1,000km of road under a five-year agreement.

Chief executive Mel Ewell said: “This is the first Australian contract Amey has secured and we are proud to bring UK engineering services to Australia.” 

Routine maintenance and incident response activities will start next month, with full duties from January 2014 to June 2018.


12pm: Upgrading existing train lines rather than building High Speed 2 would mean 14 years of route closures, according to Network Rail.

The infrastructure operator said the alternative to the £42bn HS2 link from London to the North would be major and disruptive works.

Passengers on the East Coast, West Coast and Midland Mainlines would be hit by route closures on weekends for more than a decade, it told the government.

The study will form part of the long-awaited latest business case for HS2, which is due to be announced by the government tomorrow.

Critics inside and outside of Parliament have been loudly urging the government to justify its spending on the scheme.


11.30am: Network Rail has cleared 40 fallen trees from its tracks this morning as its mammoth clear-up operation continues.

The operator now estimates that 200 trees came down on railway lines as a storm swept the south of England overnight.

It said four trains sent to inspect lines had themselves hit trees, and a landslip had occurred in the New Forest.

“As the storm passes from west to east we will be carrying out safety assessments as quickly [as possible]  to clear routes and get trains running safely,” Network Rail said in an update.


11am: European energy ministers have gathered in Brussels to set a vision for a low carbon economy.

The European Green Growth Summit takes place in the Belgian city today.

UK energy secretary Ed Davey said: “Businesses and investors are telling us that the EU needs to get its act together and that we need to urgently agree a 2030 climate and energy framework and reform the EU emissions trading scheme.

“Only then will investors have the confidence to put the billions into low carbon that we need.”

He added: “The stakes are high, if we do not act, we could all lose out in the low carbon race.”


9.30am: Transport for London is looking for contractors interested in building a £55M passenger link at Paddington Station.

The 100m link will take people from the Bakerloo Line to Crossrail services.

Works will include design and build of infrastructure; utility diversions; and project management.

Contractors have until 25 November to register an interest in the contract, estimated to be worth between £30M and £55M. More information here.


9.15am: Balfour Beatty has won two coastal defence contracts in the North West worth £73M.

The contractor will replace almost 3km of seawalls in two separate schemes to protect more than 12,000 homes.

The £20M Anchorsholme project for Blackpool Council will start on site this winter with completion expected in 2015.

Meanwhile the £53M Rossall scheme for Wyre Council, also expected to start this winter, is expected to complete in 2017.


9am: Hundreds of Network Rail staff have been working through the night to counter damage caused by the severe storm sweeping the south of England.

More than 100 trees fell onto the network overnight, and many lines into London were suspended as commuters arrived at stations this morning.

The West Coast, East Coast and Midland Mainlines were all blocked this morning.

Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s managing director of network operations, said: “Network Rail is dealing with this severe weather in exactly the way that we and the train operators planned over the weekend.

“We have had several hundred staff on duty through the night and into the morning to monitor conditions and react to any damage or disruption caused by hurricane-force winds.”

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