Gravy train hits the buffers as rail infrastructure body tries to slim down £225m bill for consultants.
Network Rail this week announced two framework deals, for project management and structures assessment as part of an attempt to prune consultancy costs.

Cyril Sweett, Bovis Lend Lease, Hornagold & Hills and Turner & Townsend are among the 15 project management consultants appointed for a five-year framework deal (see "Winning firms", right, for full list).

The contracts, to be announced this week, have an option to extend the deal for a further five years.

Ten-year contracts for structures assessment have been awarded for each of the six rail zones in the UK. Babtie, Mott MacDonald, Corus Rail Consultancy, Mouchel Consulting and Rail First are among the nine consultants appointed to work on the contracts.

The framework deals are seen as a way for Network Rail to cut the £225m predecessor Railtrack spent on consultant costs last year.

The deals are seen as a way to cut the £225m Railtrack spent on consultants last year

A source at one of the winning firms told Building that Network Rail was sensitive about these agreements as it did not want to be seen to be handing out contracts after the huge losses incurred by Railtrack.

The rail body has struck several other high-profile deals this year. In January, support services firm Amec teamed up with French rail equipment installer Cogifer to win a £200m contract to upgrade tracks across the UK.

Consultants says they have noticed little change between Network Rail and Railtrack in the competition for contracts.

In the frame: Winning firms

  • The 15 consultants awarded project management framework contracts were: Cyril Sweett, Anser Conspectus, Appleyards, Bovis Lend Lease, Capital Projects Consultants, Dearle and Henderson, DS&A, Euro Log, Hornagold & Hills, Jacobs Gibb, Osprey PMI, Precept Programme Management, Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick, Turner & Townsend and Vector Management.

  • The nine firms awarded structures assessment framework deals were: WSP Civils, Pell Frischmann Consultants, Owen Williams Railways, Veryards, Parkman, Babtie Group, Mott MacDonald, Mouchel Consulting and Rail First.