Friday 28 Nov 2003


Region & Route:
| Southern
EMBARGOED UNTIL 0700, MONDAY 1 DECEMBER NETWORK RAIL BRINGS OVER 1,000 MAINTENANCE STAFF  ‘BACK HOME’ Network Rail will take direct control for the maintenance of the infrastructure in the ‘Wessex area’ from Balfour Beatty on Sunday 30 November. The move sees more than 1,000 staff moving back in-house and continues Network Rail’s strategy of unifying the operation and maintenance of the railway. The Wessex area covers over 1244 route miles of railway including the busy commuter lines into Waterloo from Salisbury and Southampton, as well as quieter coastal lines along the south coast including Portsmouth and Weymouth.  The staff will be transferred from Balfour Beatty Rail Infrastructure Services Ltd. Creating a single integrated rail maintenance operation will deliver three key benefits: ·        Consistent application of high standards of rail maintenance across the area. ·        Significant efficiency savings to be delivered from the annual maintenance budget. ·        Continued improvement in track-side safety standards. This move forms part of the most fundamental restructuring of Britain’s railway since British Rail was reorganised in 1994, two years before privatisation. The transfer is the culmination of six months of planning and preparation and ensures that maintenance is carried out by a permanent workforce of well trained individuals committed to a strong safety culture. - more - Maintenance - 2 Robin Gisby, Network Rail’s Regional Director said. “Rail maintenance is a central part of Network Rail’s operation. Unifying maintenance and the operation of the railway under one roof will bring many benefits and help to deliver a better railway for the passenger. “The management and staff of Balfour Beatty have been very professional and without their help this major organisational change could not have happened as quickly or as smoothly as it has. “For the 1,000 staff who now join Network Rail, welcome home.” The 1,000 new employees are an experienced and skilled workforce and include managerial and clerical staff, signalling technicians, track workers, overhead line technicians and fixed plant technicians.  The Wessex area follows the Reading contract area that was brought back in-house in June. The East Midlands contract area (from Serco) will move back in January 2004, with a further six scheduled for April 2004.  The remaining 11 contract areas will come back to Network Rail during the summer of next year.” Notes for editors:
  • The country’s rail network is split into 20 maintenance contract areas. These contracts are held between seven maintenance contractors; Amey, Carillion Rail, First Engineering, Balfour Beatty, Amec, Jarvis and Serco.
  • On 24 October 2003, Network Rail announced that it had decided to take all rail maintenance back in-house. This decision followed previous announcement made earlier in the year when three contract areas were to be brought in-house (Reading, Wessex & East Midlands).
  • Balfour Beatty has held the Wessex contract since 01/10/99 and it was due to expire 31/03/04.
  • Train operators in this contract area include South West Trains, Silverlink, Eurostar, Thames Trains, Virgin Cross Country, Wessex Trains, Wales & Borders and South Central Trains and freight train operators EWS, Freightliner and GB Railfreight.
  Network Rail is the 'not for dividend' operator of Britain's rail network.  Our objective is to provide safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure. We own and maintain the tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, and level crossings.  We also own the network’s 2,500 stations, and manage the largest and the busiest.  We provide access to the tracks for every passenger and freight train, timetable their journeys, and operate the signalling, which controls their movements. Maintenance - 3 Network Rail is a company limited by guarantee with members instead of shareholders.  It is run as a commercial organisation, but any operating surplus is re-invested in the rail network. Our core focus is the operation, maintenance and renewal of existing rail infrastructure, with the Strategic Rail Authority taking the lead on enhancement projects. We have set clear targets to improve performance and reduce costs, but safety is always at the forefront of our activities as we rebuild Britain's railway. Details about the Company can be found on the Network Rail web site: For media enquiries please contact the Network Rail press office on 020 7922 4747

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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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