Atkins and Balfour Beatty try to resurrect relationship with London Underground with new bid

Atkins and Balfour Beatty, the firms that led the failed Metronet consortium, are to try to resurrect their relationship with London Underground by bidding for a place on a future tube maintenance framework.

Building understands that Transport for London, which is set to take over Metronet next year, is in talks to set up the framework. Successful contractors will carry out maintenance work previously undertaken by the consortium.

It is understood that Atkins and Balfour, which have continued to work despite Metronet’s collapse, are keen to bid; EDF and Thames Water, the other Metronet partners, will not take part.

A source said: “It looks like TfL will end up using the former Metronet members for maintenance work, although the position on its capital works may be different.”

TfL emerged as the only bidder for Metronet, which went into administration in July after suffering losses on its tube work. Atkins declared a £121m loss on its contract in July, and Balfour took a £100m hit. Both were forced to write off the value of their equity investment in the consortium.

Metronet held two 30-year contracts, valued at £17bn, to maintain and upgrade track, trains and stations on London Underground.

TfL said that no decision had yet been taken on the procurement of contracts. A TfL spokesperson said: “Our focus is now on getting Metronet out of administration as swiftly as possible. TfL’s bid is the only one for Metronet and we hope to conclude its transfer to TfL control in early 2008.

“Once under TfL control, Metronet’s contracts will be restructured to deliver track, train and signalling upgrades to increase capacity, along with station and security improvements.”