High-output track renewal

Amey Colas has been selected as the preferred bidder for a new contract from Network Rail to operate and maintain its fleet of high-output track renewal systems.

The contract, worth around £250m, will see nearly 30 per cent of Network Rail’s total renewals workload – equivalent to 1,600 miles of track – renewed and replaced over the next four years.

According to Network Rail, the contract will result in cost savings of around £85m with disruption reduced as a result of high-output technology that can carry out track renewals quicker than conventional methods.

Methods will include the use of modern machinery and efficient automation tools to allow the company to replace between 400-600m of track and ballast within eight hours.

Simon Kirby, director of infrastructure investment at Network Rail, said: ‘We are committed to delivering a high-performance railway for passengers and freight users. Technological innovation combined with commercial rigour is key to securing this.’

The contract with Amey Colas will begin in January 2010 and will cover four high-output systems.

It will replace existing contracts for operation and maintenance of systems with First Swietelsky and Fastline.

Network Rail has three high-output systems consisting of ballast cleaners, high-output track renewals trains and other support machinery and plant. The company expects to deliver its fourth high-output system in December 2010.