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US programme managers in for a shock, warn British engineers

BRITAIN'S RAIL engineers this week warned Railtrack's new US programme managers: 'You don't know what you're getting into.'

Railtrack signed up US giants Parsons Brinckerhoff, Bechtel and Fluor Daniel to manage its complex major projects. The US firms have a wealth of experience on major projects around the world and believe they have the necessary experience.

But British engineers believe the US firms are in for a shock. 'They will bring an injection of ideas, new ways of working to break the old British Rail attitudes but they probably do not know what they are letting themselves in for,' one senior contractor told NCE. 'People are set in their ways, not just in Railtrack but within the contractors as well. Having the single client is another issue. It could work but I doubt Railtrack will let go.'

(see feature page 16)

Railtrack will announce whether it is to appoint a programme manager for the £800M Thameslink project at the end of the year. If Railtrack decides to adopt this idea it will first approach the three existing US programme managers. If these firms do not have the capacity it is expected the position will be offered to either Brown & Root or a Mace/O'Brien Kreutzberg joint venture.

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