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Network Rail unveils plans for national centre at Milton Keynes

Network Rail today unveiled the first images of its groundbreaking new national centre, which will bring up to 3,000 jobs to Milton Keynes.

The move is part of an efficiency drive which will see 1,800 jobs cut from its in-house maintenance operation.

Network Rail chief executive Iain Coucher told suppliers in July that the business had to cut its costs by £4bn to remain within its total £35bn budget for the period (NCE 16 July).

The company is also moving staff from regional offices to a new national engineering centre in Milton Keynes as part of its efficiency drive. The move was revealed to NCE by Coucher this week.

“The regional bases remain − we have to be a geographic operation for operation and maintenance,” Coucher told NCE this week. “But we are bringing together all the people who provide operational, engineering and project management support nationally.

“We will do our best to help people relocate, or redeploy if they don’t want to move but there is no denying the power of people working together in the same building.”

The proposed building – scheduled to open in 2012 – will be located near Milton Keynes Central railway station on the site of the former national hockey stadium, which will be taken down later this year. The total value of the construction contract is valued between £75M and £120M.

The five shortlisted firms are Balfour Beatty, BAM, Laing O’Rourke, Skanska, Sir Robert McAlpine.

They have until the end of October to submit their tender proposals. The contract will be finally awarded in August 2010, with work due to start shortly thereafter.

Network Rail is inviting people to find out more about the opportunities and other benefits for Milton Keynes at a series of exhibitions. At these events, members of the public will be able to speak with people working on the project, ask them questions and give their thoughts about our plans. Network Rail can then take this into account before submitting its planning application in early November.

Network Rail is aiming to achieve a BREEAM ‘excellent’ rating for the centre. The design for the new building includes a host of eco-friendly features which will encourage diverse habitats for flora and fauna in the centre of the town and a rainwater harvesting system which will be used to flush toilets.

Network Rail plans to recycle material from the national hockey stadium and, wherever possible, materials will be sourced locally cutting the number of lorries and further reducing the carbon footprint of the building.

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