Thursday 10 Jul 2003
NETWORK RAIL ACCELERATES PLANS TO EXTEND DIRECT CONTROL OF RAIL MAINTENANCE
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Network Rail today announces a dramatic acceleration of its plans to take direct control of rail infrastructure maintenance in three contract areas. The maintenance contract for the East Midlands area, which was due to run until March 2005, will now be taken in-house in six months time.
· East Midlands area maintenance contract to be taken back in-house 14 months ahead of schedule
· Reading area maintenance contract successfully transferred in-house ahead of schedule on 22 June
· Wessex area maintenance contract, currently held by Balfour Beatty, to join Reading and East Midlands to form a core in-house maintenance operation
· New Maintenance Programme, a nationwide initiative to ensure key maintenance decisions are made in-house by Network Rail engineers, progressing ahead of schedule
Today’s news represents a rapid acceleration in the implementation of Network Rail’s strategy to improve maintenance across the entire railway. By taking these contracts in-house, Network Rail will be a more educated customer of maintenance, with a much greater understanding of the costs and other issues associated with rail maintenance. It is a clear demonstration of the company’s determination to take effective control of maintenance and assume direct responsibility for delivering increased efficiency.
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The decision to accelerate the bringing in-house of this contract is no reflection on the performance of Serco, with which Network Rail continues to be satisfied. Network Rail looks forward to maintaining its relationship with Serco and to working with them in the future. The 31 January date has been mutually agreed by both parties as being in the best interests of the railway.
East Midlands rail maintenance to be taken in-house
Network Rail will take direct control of all day-to-day maintenance and inspection activities in the East Midlands area a full 14 months ahead of schedule. The existing maintenance contract, which is held by Serco, will end on 31 January 2004. The speed of progress will be dictated by the need to ensure a smooth transition. The area includes lines out of London St Pancras north to Leicester, Nottingham and Derby as well as cross-country lines to Crewe.
Reading area taken in-house ahead of schedule
Today’s announcement follows the recent successful transfer of responsibility for the maintenance of rail infrastructure in the Reading area from Amey to Network Rail - the first time maintenance has been undertaken by the infrastructure provider since privatisation.
Bringing these contracts in-house will allow Network Rail to undertake a detailed analysis of the entire maintenance delivery activity and benchmark maintenance operations across the country. It will enable the company to ensure that it achieves the best value for money and an improved network performance.
Iain Coucher, Network Rail Deputy Chief Executive said: “We are taking urgent action to drive down costs and improve the performance of the entire network.
“Bringing these contracts in-house at the earliest opportunity is a key element of our plans to understand the reasons why costs have risen across the network and obtain a clear understanding of the maintenance delivery activity.
“We have accelerated our plans to extend control of maintenance. We are impatient with the pace of change but must balance progress with the need ensure a seamless transition.”
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“Improving the efficiency of maintenance will help optimise our renewals expenditure; the two are inextricably linked.”
About Network Rail
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.
Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.
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