Monday 11 Aug 2003


Region & Route:
| Southern
Network Rail today announced a significant enhancement of its plans to take direct control of railway maintenance activities by taking maintenance in the Wessex area back in-house a full five months ahead of schedule. Accelerating the creation of a core in-house maintenance function is an essential element of Network Rail’s drive to reduce costs and improve efficiency.  In future, all day-to-day maintenance and inspection activities will be carried out by Network Rail engineers and track workers in the Wessex, Reading and East Midlands areas. In co-operation with the existing Wessex maintenance contractor, Balfour Beatty, the contract will come to a close before the due date of March 2004.  Instead, maintenance in the Wessex area will be undertaken in-house from November 2003.
  • Wessex area maintenance contract, held by Balfour Beatty, to be taken back in-house five months early
  • Reading maintenance contract, previously held by Amey, successfully transferred in-house ahead of schedule on 22 June, 2003
  • East Midlands area maintenance contract, currently held by Serco, to be ended 14 months ahead of schedule in January 2004
Network Rail continues to work closely with Balfour Beatty to deliver maintenance activity in two other contract areas – Great Eastern and Kent - where Network Rail’s new model for managing and executing maintenance has, and is, being implemented. - more - Wessex - 2 In-house maintenance allows the company to undertake an in-depth analysis of the entire maintenance value chain so that it is able to benchmark maintenance activities across the rail network.  Reading, Wessex and East Midlands together form a microcosm of the national rail network upon which the benchmark can be set. This forms a key weapon in Network Rail’s assault on maintenance costs and will help achieve best value for money. Iain Coucher, Network Rail Deputy Chief Executive, said: “We are accelerating our plans to take direct control of rail maintenance.  Our objective is clear – to drive down maintenance costs and become a more informed and intelligent buyer. “The maintenance contracts we have inherited from Railtrack do not give us a clear understanding of cost and efficiency issues.  That is why we are changing them. “We are determined to increase efficiency and improve the performance of the rail network. The successful transfer of the Reading contract means that for the first time since privatisation railway maintenance is being undertaken by the infrastructure owner.  We are now rapidly accelerating our plans for the Wessex and East Midlands areas.”

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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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