The Mirfield bridge contract was one of the first to be carried out through a three way arrangement between Railtrack, May Gurney and Birse. The RMGB partnership allows the two contractors to operate separate sites but encourages mutual support and offers economy with a single central office.
Under a term contract with Railtrack, May Gurney carries out most of the maintenance work on the East Coast Main Line from York to London's King's Cross. Birse has a similar deal from York to the Scottish border.
The partnership was formed following a requirement from Railtrack that its two ECML contractors should be based not more than 10 minutes walk away from the client's headquarters in York. Consequently, both share the same office, which includes relevant Railrack staff.
The aim is also to share back-up equipment and personnel should either be needed on individual sites. To promote this spirit, most engineers share an integrated open plan office, and May Gurney's Peter Brack found himself sitting alongside his counterpart from Birse.
'It is a sensible arrangement, though at times I still need to speak rather quietly on the phone' he smiles.