Balfour Beatty Rail Maintenance is responsible for the upkeep of more of Britain's rail infrastructure than any other company. Currently the £200M turnover company controls five of Railtrack's infrastructure regions: East Coast Main Line, Midlands Main Line, East Anglia, Wessex and South East.
Managing director Steve Huxley says the company's success in securing rail maintenance contracts comes down to adopting a services industry approach to the job.
'Over the past two years we have evolved a holistic approach to rail maintenance,' he says. 'We are a service provider and to drive quality we need franchise formats. We need people to have clearly focused objectives and ownership.'
This is the philosophy behind restructuring of BBRM's maintenance zones.
'It can be likened to a BMW dealership,' he explains. 'They are mostly independently run but work to a rigorous franchise format in that the work environment and service delivery is identical wherever you are. That structure also means any innovations can be spread quickly.'
Huxley is a perfect example of Railtrack's wish to see ideas brought from outside to re-energise the rail sector. His previous job was as Automobile Association operations general manager.