Scotland’s £295M Borders Railway is to be delivered by a partnership between Network Rail and Transport Scotland after plans to use a form of PFI fell apart in the summer.
Transport Scotland has had to cancel the original procurement competition for the project following the withdrawal of two of the three bidders. Bam remained the only firm willing to bid for the project, originally intended to be procured using Scotland’s take on PFI, the Scottish Futures Trust’s Non Profit Distributing model.
Construction giant Carillion confirmed it would not be running in the contest to be the company responsible for building and maintaining the 48km route from Edinburgh through Midlothian to Tweedbank route in June. It was part of a consortium called IMCD bidding for the contract with partners Sir Robert McAlpine and Spanish firm Iridium Concesiones de Infrastructuras. Another consortium, New Borders Railway, pulled out in November last year after the loss of one of their key members - American firm Fluor.
Network Rail will now run the £235M to £295M project and tender it conventionally. It will then be reimbursed by Transport Scotland.
Scottish transport minister Keith Brown said the government was “steadfastly committed” to the scheme and that is was “actively managing and making prudent decisions to ensure efficient delivery as quickly as possible”. This means using conventional means to procure it.
“Despite early enthusiasm from bidders, it is disappointing that two consortia dropped out for their own commercial reasons,” he said. “Following the withdrawal of IMCD from the procurement in the summer, we said we would consider our options to find the right way forward to deliver the project for the best value in the shortest possible time. Today’s announcement concludes that process.”
Ministers remain committed to the target project delivery date of December 2014.