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Network Rail says California work will boost UK efficiency

Winning work on California’s high speed rail programme will help Network Rail boost innovation in UK construction works, a senior figure has claimed.

Network Rail Consulting was last month named as part of an advisory team for creation of a rapid link from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

At home, Network Rail faces an investigation after missing more than a third of its enhancement works targets last year.

But Nigel Ash, managing director of the consultancy arm of the UK rail infrastructure operator, has pledged that the US deal will help boost domestic projects.

“I am delighted that Network Rail Consulting is a major part of the winning consultancy team for this prestigious contract,” said Ash. “This proves that we can compete successfully against strong US and international companies.

“One of our goals when we launched Network Rail Consulting in 2012 was to export British rail expertise around the world and be an ambassador for Britain’s rail industry. This long term contract firmly establishes us in the US and will help channel innovation back into Network Rail’s core business.”

Phase 1 of the Californian scheme will connect the San Francisco Bay Area to the Los Angeles Basin in less than three hours at speeds of over 300kph.

The system will eventually extend to Sacramento and San Diego, totalling some 1,200km of rail with up to 24 stations.

Network Rail operates and maintains HS1, connecting London with the Channel Tunnel, and is closely involved in developing HS2, which is planned to run from London to Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds.

Network Rail Consulting has previously been selected as part of a consortium to deliver the North South Railway project in Saudi Arabia, and to assist with a major upgrade of Sydney’s rail network.

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