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Railtrack decides on US programme managers

BECHTEL, PARSONS Brinckerhoff and a joint venture of Fluor Daniel and Mott MacDonald have been selected as framework programme managers to help Railtrack deliver its £10.7bn investment plans.

Railtrack director of major projects Simon Murray announced the award of the framework deals to NCE on Monday.

The frameworks are estimated to be worth £250M to the winning companies over 10 years. Brown & Root and a Mace/ O'Brien Kreitzberg joint venture, which made it through to the final six bidders, have not been appointed at this stage.

Murray described the selection of the programme managers as an important step forward in establishing the 'strong and experienced management teams' needed to deliver Railtrack's investment plans.

Parsons Brinckerhoff is expected to programme manage the £2.2bn West Coast Route Modernisation; Fluor Daniel/ Mott MacDonald is lined up for the planned £1bn upgrade of the East Coast Main Line and Bechtel is expected to manage the £3.2bn London Underground subsurface line partnership. Details of their responsibilities will be finalised in the next two weeks.

Brown & Root, which previously had a major management role on WCRM (NCE 15 April), has already agreed a plan to withdraw its staff from the scheme and allow PB to take over smoothly.

'Clearly this has been a huge disappointment for Brown & Root,' Murray said. 'They have handled this whole situation with considerable maturity and good grace and I admire them for it. Any difficulties we had with them are certainly behind us.'

The programme managers will form integrated teams with Railtrack staff from the start of next month. They will focus particularly on system-wide management of logistics, the supply chain, safety case compliance and the delivery of business benefits.

Framework agreements will run for seven years. Railtrack will reimburse the companies on an open book arrangement for an agreed number of staff on each scheme. The fee element of their deal will be measured against a set of key performance indicators. 'And, depending on their performance, they could earn no fee, or 150% of the fee they quoted,' Murray said.

He hinted that other framework programme managers could be appointed in future, particularly the two 'finalists' who missed out this time.

'Our focus is on the big challenges,' he said, 'and the next one is Thameslink, which we will begin to address at the end of the year. We will see if our existing programme managers have the resources first but, in the event they don't, we will have the opportunity of awarding further

frameworks. We did have six proposals we were comfortable with. The door is not completely shut.'

The next step for Railtrack is to establish frameworks for the provision of engineering and construction services to projects. 'It is to our advantage to do business with fewer and better companies,' Murray said.

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