Tuesday 4 Nov 2008


Region & Route:
| Wales & Western: Wales & Borders
| Southern: Wessex
| Wales & Western
| Southern
Seventy of the most experienced engineering firms operating in the UK have been invited to put forward their best ideas to deliver the £425m Reading remodelling scheme. Network Rail, who is managing the Department of Transport-backed scheme, will award 25 individual work packages with values ranging between around £1m and £80m.

Companies will be selected for their skills and willingness to be innovative across a diverse range of works including:

  • Civil engineering, including the construction of an rail viaduct and the widening and replacement of several bridges
  • Signalling and telecoms, including upgrading the signalling equipment at Reading
  • Track, renewing and constructing new ones; and
  • Station and depot works, including building new platforms, pedestrian footbridge and the northern entrance to the station

Rupert Walker, project sponsor for Network Rail, said,

“This is one of the most prestigious, high-profile schemes in the country and it will provide national benefit to Britain’s railways. We owe it to the millions of rail users coming through the Reading area each year to secure the best talent available for this vital project.

“The selection process will be rigorous and competition will be tough so we can draw on the best people to deliver the job. Every successful bidder will have an excellent opportunity to showcase their expertise and ability to deliver.”

Dividing the contract into separate work packages, a favoured industry approach, means Network Rail will be closer to the ‘front-line’ in the delivery of the scheme. This also means opportunity for more firms to compete for and benefit from this scheme – boosting the industry and creating more engineering jobs, potentially for the area in Reading.

Successful bidders will go through a three-stage process to qualify for the final selection, which will begin in early 2009. The first set of work packages will be awarded by summer 2009 for preliminary work to start by end of next year. The larger contracts for the main programme of work, which include the construction of the elevated railway and track renewals, will be awarded from the end of 2009.

Notes to editors

Network Rail is working closely with Reading Borough council on this government-funded programme to tackle the bottle neck at Reading, one of the most critical rail hubs in Britain. Reading’s current track layout and signalling severely limits the number of services that can travel through the station. The project has funding of £425m to deliver a 37% improvement in train service performance reliability in the Reading area by 2015. Reading will benefit from this project as will the many destinations that Reading serves, including London Paddington, Bristol, South Wales, Cornwall and Oxford, along with London Waterloo, Gatwick Airport and the south coast.

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

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