Network Rail has launched its first major framework for control period 6 (CP6) worth £7bn, for work across the Anglia, Southeast and Wessex routes.
The CP6 IP Southern Multi-Discipline (SMD) Framework will cover all categories of railway assets including enhancements and renewals comprising: building & civils, electrification, power, signalling, telecommunications and track works. Design works are also included in the framework scope.
The annoucement comes after the rail operator released details of how its £49bn worth of funding will be spent within the next control period running from April 2019 to 2024. The strategic business plan splits the pot with £18.5bn going towards renewal projects, £18.5bn on operations and maintenance and a further £10.1bn on legacy enhancement projects from CP5. Major new enhancement projects will be funded separately going forward, as and when business cases can be made for them.
It is understood this new framework will largely cover renewals, but could be used for work in other areas if required.
Three companies are expected to be appointed to the framework with only one route per tenderer allowed “to ensure it maintains operational security”.
Work is expected to start from the start of CP6 and last for five years with the option to extend into CP7 for the first three years.
Under the new business plan, the different routes are to be given autonomy and will have their own efficiency plan. Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said this would not only drive productivity, but it would foster innovation within the companies.
“It’s how you liberate innovation,” said Carne. “We don’t’ say this is how you do it, we just say get on with it. There are some rules, business critical rules so we will define an envelope, but how you play in this space is up to you.
“If something works really well in one place then we’ll benchmark.”
However, he warned that there was a danger of separate monopolies being formed.
“There is a great danger that instead of having one monopoly you have eight,” he said. “There must be consequence for competition. If you do really well, there is a certain amount of money and that will be spent on those routes which are delivering and performing the best.”