Wednesday 15 Jan 2003


South East
Network Rail [has] this week awarded consultants Owen Williams two new 10-year partnership contracts to provide regular inspections of all the structures within its Great Western Zone and Eastern Region. Both contracts will commence in April 2003. Owen Williams’ role will involve detailed examinations of the regions’ structural assets including bridges, viaducts, tunnels, culverts, retaining walls, equipment support structures, depot structures, structural elements of stations and coastal and estuarial defences. For the Great Western Zone contract it also involves the examination of many historic landmarks such as the Royal Albert Bridge and the Severn Tunnel, built by engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel more than 150 years ago. Both contracts will work as partnering agreements between Network Rail and Owen Williams. In addition to regular inspection the consultancy is also expected to record and report all examinations and to provide a rapid response service in cases of emergencies such as flooding or lightning strikes. -2- For Owen Williams Railways Division the contracts represent a major success for the consultancy. It has been responsible for examinations within the Great Western Zone for the last five years. “Until now we have always been offered short term contracts of between two to three years,” said Chief Executive Richard Williams. “ However, the award of two longer 10-year contracts will enable us to invest heavily in new technology and training.” “We were the first to train the new generation of bridge examiners and we have recently introduced advanced electronic systems for reporting and inspecting to make us even more efficient. We are looking forward to providing an even better [people- friendly] customer service for Network Rail.”

Contact information

Passengers / community members
Network Rail national helpline
03457 11 41 41

Latest travel advice
Please visit National Rail Enquiries

Network Rail press office - South East route
020 3357 7969

About Network Rail

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

Follow us on Twitter: @networkrail
Visit our online newsroom: