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Supplier demand The massive opportunities in the railway infrastructure sector will call for smarter suppliers and greater use of partnering, says Matthew Jones to launch our railways special.

Four years after privatisation the scale of work needed to bring Britain's railway network up to scratch and take it into the 21st century is still emerging. Many anti-privatisation lobby groups, and indeed the Rail Regulator John Swift QC, have condemned Railtrack for not doing enough so far. But last month the company answered its critics with a Network Management Statement running to 226 pages and outlining plans for £17bn of investment in the next ten years.

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