Network Rail has announced framework agreements worth £1.5bn to deliver rail signalling projects, as part of wider reforms to Network Rail’s infrastructure business, with a greater focus on partnership.

The agreements are expected to commence on April 2, operate for the remaining two years of control period 4, and can be extended to cover control period 5 (2014-2019) by Network Rail.

Invensys Rail, Signalling Solutions and Atkins will be awarded the framework agreements, covering the majority of signalling renewals and enhancements across England, Scotland and Wales.

Collaborative working is the focus of the agreements, with integrated design teams. A primary and secondary supplier will be appointed for each area to provide the flexibility needed to meet an increase in demand.

Simon Kirby, Network Rail managing director, infrastructure projects, said that as demand rose on the railways, safety-critical systems were becoming more and more important.

He added: “These new frameworks represent a seven-year commitment by suppliers, allowing us to work closely with them to develop long-term plans for work to be carried out more quickly and efficiently. The length of the agreements, coupled with a visible workload, will provide much-needed stability throughout the supply chain and drive further cost savings and innovation across our signalling renewals and enhancements activities.”

Nick Crossfield, Invensys Rail’s UK president, said: “In addition to our absolute focus on safety, we strive to achieve excellence in technology, innovation, delivery and value and we look forward to working in close partnership with Network Rail to continue to deliver projects that provide safe, sustainable and reliable solutions.”

Steve McLaren, managing director of Signalling Solutions Ltd, said: “The visibility and long-term work bank allows Signalling Solutions to continue to invest in people and technology to achieve the necessary cost reduction targets for the future.”

Uwe Krueger, Atkins’ chief executive, said: “The contracts give us the opportunity to demonstrate the breadth and depth of our rail business’ signalling expertise, sharing international best practice and innovation and delivering the management rigour that will bring value for money for one of the public sector’s most important players.”

The agreements also provide the option to competitively tender up to 20% of the predicted workload each year.

Author's Bio: 

Roy Rowlands writes for Rail Technology Magazine an independent technical trade journal for the UK rail industry offering a wide view of rail news views and opinions, he also writes for a rail jobs board reporting on the latest trends in rail recruitment