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NCE Live News Updates Thursday 6 February: Crossrail train contract awarded; six weeks to repair railway at Dawlish

Derby-based Bombardier has landed the £1bn Crossrail rolling stock contract; Shoring up damage immediate priority for Network Rail at Dawlish.

3.30pm: Network Rail engineers have begun work to try and prevent any further damage to the railway at Dawlish in Devon as another Atlantic storm system is forecast to hit the south-west of England on Saturday.

Around 80m of sea wall has been destroyed by high tides and stormy seas, causing a significant stretch of railway to collapse into the sea. The road adjacent to the railway and several houses have also been significantly damaged, along with damage at Dawlish station itself.

Network Rail has mobilised a range of specialist contractors, engineers and suppliers from across the country to help with the work needed at Dawlish and has also taken up the offer of discussions with the Ministry of Defence to see if there is any help which can be provided by armed forces personnel based in the south-west.

Initial estimates are that it will take at least six weeks to reopen the railway, but the immediate priority is to shore up the damaged section on Thursday and Friday using a concrete spraying machine which was until recently being used to refurbish Whiteball Tunnel in Somerset.


3pm: Further rain increasing flood risk this week, with coastal impacts expected at the weekend

Severe flood warnings remained in place for Somerset today as successive bands of rain show no signs of easing. The Environment Agency said further heavy rainfall is expected today (Thursday), Friday and Saturday, exacerbating the risks of flooding from rivers and surface water across the south west, central and south east of England. 

Environment Agency teams were out yesterday and overnight deploying temporary defences at Northmoor and Fordgate on the Somerset Levels, to protect around 30 homes. More demountable defences are being delivered today from around the country. Teams will continue to be out on the Levels today pumping, erecting defences and deploying sandbags.

12:30: SMEs will benefit from Bombardier deal, says Deighton

10.30am: Extra cash for flood repairs

Prime minister David Cameron yesterday told the House of Commons that an extra £100M was to be made available over the next year for flood repairsand maintenance. This will cover £75M for repairs, £10M for urgent work in Somerset to deliver the action plan being prepared by the local agencies and £15M for extra maintenance.

Cameron stressed that it was “new money” that was only available because his government had looked after the nation’s finances carefully. But he did not say from which budget the cash was to come.

10.15am: Nework Rail reopens Dorking-Horsham line five days early

Good news for part of the rail network today - after more than a month’s work by Network Rail engineers and contractor Bam Nuttall, the landslip at Ockley has been repaired five days ahead of schedule.

Ockley landslip site

Ockley landslip site

More than 4,000t of new material has been put in place to rebuild the railway where the embankment collapsed at Christmas, supported by a new sheet piled wall.

The incident happened when torrential rain fell on already-saturated ground overnight on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

10am: Mouchel is going on the road as part of its drive to recruit 600 engineers and consultants by the end of this year to help it expand in Britain and abroad.

The firm’s infrastructure services and EM Highway Services divisions are set to meet potential recruits at four drop in events in February. The events are taking place in Manchester, Birmingham, London and Bristol.

The firm announced in December that it was looking to recruit up to 600 engineers in 2014. Chief executive Grant Rumbles told NCE in January that the firm has exacting recruitment standards.

“We are seeking excellence and that’s helping us in terms of recruitment. We won’t tolerate average,” he said. “So we need to be very careful. It’s great that we are going to recruit 600, but we need to make sure it is the right 600. Our biggest challenge is to maintain the modern Mouchel culture,” he said.

9am: Bombardier lands Crossrail rolling stock contract.

The intention to award a £1bn contract to deliver Crossrail rolling stock and a new Crossrail depot to Bombardier has been announced today by Transport for London (TfL) and the Department for Transport (DfT).

The contract between TfL and Bombardier covers the supply, delivery and maintenance of 65 new trains and the depot at Old Oak Common. The contract award is subject to a 10 day standstill period.

TfL will run Crossrail as part of its integrated transport services for London, including ticketing and customer travel information. 

Bombardier has confirmed that the new trains will be manufactured and assembled at its plant in Derby. This contract will support 760 UK manufacturing jobs plus 80 apprenticeships. An estimated 74% of contract spend will remain in the UK economy.

The construction of the maintenance depot at Old Oak Common will create 244 jobs, plus 16 apprenticeships. When fully operational the depot will support 80 jobs to maintain the new fleet of trains.  

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