Network Rail's maintenance programme is let under a series of term maintenance contracts covering track and infrastructure work. These were let initially as separate contracts, but the company has been looking to reduce this number by awarding contracts covering both types of work.
The company is holding discussions about taking more control of its maintenance programme in terms of deciding what should be done and when it should be done. In a recent press release the company stated that new roles and responsibilities will be introduced. These will start early next year in Railtrack's eastern region and be rolled out to the rest of the country by April 2004.
Current and future projects
It is assumed that some investment decisions have been delayed since September 2001 and it is estimated that total investment for the 2001/02 financial year was about £3.7bn. More details will be available when Network Rail publishes its results.
With the company now being focused mainly on the operation and maintenance of the national rail network, and the Strategic Rail Authority and others looking after major new enhancement schemes, Network Rail's investment programme will be geared heavily to track, signalling and station renewals and maintenance work. On 9 October 2002, the SRA published details about the investment needed to upgrade the West Coast Main Line. This estimated that enhancements would be £2.3bn, and the cost of "making good a backlog of renewals and replacement" would amount to about £7.5bn, of which roughly £2bn had already been spent. The renewals and maintenance work is expected to be completed by 2006, while enhancements will take longer (2008).
It has been reported that over the next few years, Network Rail is looking for an increase in its renewals and maintenance budget, possibly as much as £5bn. This will have to be agreed with the SRA, which gives grants to Railtrack, and the Office of the Rail Regulator, which sets access charges for train operators. Investment in the rail sector is expected to grow very strongly.
On 3 October 2002, Network Rail, a company limited by guarantee, completed the acquisition of Railtrack. Railtrack is the main operating activity of Network Rail and has the day-to-day responsibility for running Britain's rail infrastructure network.
Railtrack has issued a revised Network Management Statement. This details which projects it will implement and which will be funded by other parties. For example, enhancements to the West Coast Main Line, stage 1 of the East Coast Main Line upgrade and the Thameslink 2000 will all come under the control of the Strategic Rail Authority and, possibly, other parties. When completed, these lines will be operated by Railtrack.
Late last year, the SRA made a statement which has raised questions about some enhancement projects, in particular the spiralling costs of some schemes.
Procurement manager Alan Ferens Contact details
Railtrack House, Euston Square,
London NW1 4EE
phone: 020-7557 8000
fax: 020-7557 9000
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