Network Rail

Bam Nuttall awarded £10m Highland mainline deal

Network Rail has awarded Bam Nuttall a contract for upgrade works to the Highland mainline – to help reduce journey times for customers.

The £10 million deal is part of an overall £57m Scottish Government-funded investment in the line linking Inverness and the Central Belt.

The contract will involve extending platforms 1 and 2 at Pitlochry station and carrying out modifications to extend the track layout.

Infrastructure works will also be carried out at Aviemore station – extending the loop (section of double-track) to the north of the station.

In addition, signalling systems at Pitlochry and Aviemore will also be altered and upgraded as part of the overall project.

These works will enable ScotRail’s longer InterCity trains (HSTs), which will start to be introduced on the route later this year, to pass each other more efficiently at both stations.

The work will help deliver an hourly service, with average journey times reduced by around 10 minutes. It will also enable potential improvements to the times of the first and last trains between Inverness and the Central Belt and to provide a better distribution of calls at the intermediate stations between Perth and Inverness.

This is the second phase of investment in the Highland mainline. In 2012, the initial phase of the project increased the number of services from nine to 11 trains per day in each direction.

Humza Yousaf, minister for transport and the islands, said: “The awarding of the Highland mainline works contact is an important milestone in the progress of the project, which is on track to complete in little over a year.

“The works planned to take place at Aviemore and Pitlochry allow for far more efficient crossing of trains, which along with the soon-to-be-introduced HSTs and infrastructure enhancements, will deliver faster more frequent journeys between Inverness and the Central Belt.”

Matthew Spence, route delivery director for Network Rail, said: “This work is vital to the introduction of InterCity trains on the line and the improved timetable that will deliver more services, improve stopping patterns and provide better connectivity for customers.

“Throughout this project we will work closely with our contractors, train operators and other partners to deliver in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible while minimising disruption for both lineside communities and passengers.”

Jerry Dickson, regional director Bam Nuttall, added: “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract and look forward to delivering this important enhancement to the Highland mainline.

“Our team will be looking for opportunities to work with the local community to identify opportunities to leave a positive lasting legacy from the work at both stations.”

Masterplan initiative seeks new vision for Waverley

A new Masterplan is to be developed to outline a long term vision Edinburgh’s Waverley Station.

The Waverley Masterplan will consider the future growth anticipated at the station, the impact of city centre developments on how people use it and how it can play its part in the continued success of Scotland’s capital city.

The Masterplan is being led in partnership by station owner Network Rail and City of Edinburgh Council who have formed a group comprising Transport Scotland, VisitScotland, Scottish Enterprise, Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce and other neighbouring property owners.

The group’s first aim is to understand how future growth is likely to impact footfall within the station and on the streets outside. An options appraisal will be developed to consider short, medium and long term objectives before wider consultation is undertaken with customers, user groups and other interested parties.

An initial study is expected to begin this summer, with more details made available on how to contribute to the process.

Alex Hynes, managing director of the ScotRail Alliance, which includes Network Rail Scotland, said: “Waverley has seen its footfall more than double from 10 million to over 24 million within the last ten years and estimates suggest that it will almost double again, to 40 million, by 2024. Such a steep increase is a positive indicator of the railway’s economic influence on the city and a clear sign that further investment will be required.

“We are creating additional rail provision within Waverley at present and will continue to seek new ways to create the best railway that Scotland has ever had. However, more trains mean more people and that inevitably adds to the pressure on station infrastructure and the surrounding streets.

“The Waverley Masterplan will help us to coordinate our approach and to tackle some of the issues that an increasingly busy Waverley Station raises. One organisation cannot manage this in isolation, so it is a welcome step forward to be working with City of Edinburgh Council and our other partners in the development of this plan.”

Lesley Macinnes, convener of the transport and environment committee, City of Edinburgh Council, said: “Waverley Station’s location in the heart of our city centre means it plays a crucial role in the city’s transport system. With population and visitor numbers forecast to grow over the coming years, we need to work with partners to ensure we manage these increased numbers both in the station and in the city centre as a whole to deliver the best possible experience for all residents, commuters and tourists.”

Transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “I am delighted that the combined expertise and energies of a range of parties have been brought together by the City of Edinburgh Council and Network Rail to create a long term vision for the station and its surrounding area.  Edinburgh Waverley is the first impression for many as they arrive in our capital city. It is both a portal to the city and wider Scotland. We’ve seen the positive difference that the redevelopment of major stations can have economically, socially and aesthetically. Accordingly, I look forward to developments at Waverley with considerable interest.”

The Edinburgh Waverley Masterplan follows in the footsteps of other successful joint initiatives undertaken in other major city centre stations. Kings Cross/St. Pancras, Waterloo, Leeds, Bristol Temple Meads and Birmingham New Street have all been through similar processes during the last decade.

Enhanced Queen Street Station development given £80m investment boost

Another £80 million is set to be invested into new plans being taken forward for the regeneration of Queen Street Station in Glasgow.

Working in partnership with various stakeholders, Scottish Ministers have decided to progress a greatly enhanced development at the North Hanover Street car park site of the station.

The new plans include extensive retail, food and beverage opportunities, and will also deliver a development deck upon which further private sector investment can be taken forward.

Unveiling the alternative plans to the public, transport minister Humza Yousaf said: “The new proposal will help deliver a 21st century station acting as a catalyst for further private sector investment. Alongside the redevelopment of Queen Street station being delivered as part of the Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) this will see a significant improvement to the overall passenger experience and deliver significant economic benefits to the city.”

Queen Street Station has been undergoing a £100m makeover since last August.

The redevelopment of Queen Street is part of the wider Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme, a Scottish Government investment in the central belt’s rail infrastructure, and is being delivered by Network Rail.

It will mean an increase in capacity for the station and space for longer trains, so more passengers can travel with ease.

The new below-deck development will provide around 3,800 square metres for such facilities, in comparison to the 500 square metres which would have been provided by the partially constructed project. The layout of the retail, food and beverage outlets will be largely in accordance with previously consented plans.

Projected rental income from the revised plan sees a potential increase from circa £370k with the original proposal per annum to £2.2 million – £2.7 million per annum.

Works continue on redeveloping the main station building as part of the EGIP with the recent commencement of the main demolition works of Consort House which is needed to make space for the new Queen Street station frontage.

The revised plan, whilst not part of EGIP, will have no detrimental impact on the delivery of the EGIP key milestones.

Alex Hynes, ScotRail Alliance managing director, said: “We look forward to working with the Scottish Government, and other commercial partners, on this ambitious vision for Queen Street. We’re building the best railway Scotland has ever had and these plans will deliver an exciting new development for our customers and the people of Glasgow.

“The station is currently being transformed to allow new longer, faster and greener electric trains to run on our railway and the plans announced today will help to ensure Queen Street continues to play a central role in the social and economic life of the city.”

Councillor Susan Aitken, leader of Glasgow City Council, added: “The revised plans for Queen Street Station will deliver far greater local economic benefit, securing the full potential of the site and will provide significant employment opportunities once the development deck has been fully delivered. The redevelopment will both give the station a retail offer befitting one of Scotland’s busiest transport hubs and provide a striking entry into the city for travellers coming to Glasgow.”

Contractors sought for trio of Network Rail upgrades

Network Rail has started searching for firms to help deliver up to £5 billion of track works across the UK over the next 10 years.

The company will launch a pre-qualification period for the tender in May to let the next generation of track infrastructure contracts. Three alliances will cover the following areas;

  • Alliance 1: North (Scotland Route)
  • Alliance 2: Central (London North West, and London North East & East Midland Routes)
  • Alliance 3: South (Anglia, Southeast, Wessex, Western, and Wales Routes)

During the next five-year funding period (2019 – 2024), own as Control Period 6 (CP6), Network Rail will undertake a significant infrastructure investment programme and is inviting bids from a from a wide range of suppliers who can illustrate relevant expertise.

Overall, the contracts will cover the development, design and delivery of plain line and  switches & crossings, as well as associated infrastructure works. Three alliances will be formed between Network Rail and consortia comprising a minimum of one construction contractor and one designer.

Given the large scale and long-term nature of the contracts, Network Rail said it will be essential for prospective bidders to exhibit their commitment to delivering value through the ‘relentless pursuit of excellence’, ‘highly innovative approaches’, and a ‘demonstrable track record of success in collaborative environments’.

Steve Featherstone, Network Rail’s director for track, said: “This tender represents a major milestone in the development of our strategy for our track infrastructure investment programme.

“It also represents a significant commitment by Network Rail to the rail industry and we are expecting high levels of interest in these contracts from the supply chain. In return, we will be looking for clear and firm commitments from the supply chain to deliver value for Network Rail.”

A supplier engagement briefing for interested suppliers is scheduled to take place at an unnamed venue on April 23.

Consort House demolition work begins at Glasgow Queen Street

Engineers have begun demolishing Consort House as redundant buildings in front of Glasgow Queen Street make way for the new-look station

Demolition works are underway at Glasgow Queen Street to create space for the new railway station.

Engineers have started levelling Consort House as the building and the adjoining Millennium Hotel extension need to be removed to make way for the new station frontage, concourse and entrances and new longer platforms.

Light-weight excavators have now been craned over 30 metres onto the roof to starting breaking up the building’s reinforced concrete and steel frame floor-by-floor.

Inside Queen Street, work is underway to extend platform one by 50 metres. The former ticket office/staff accommodation block on platform two has also been demolished.

Over the coming months, Network Rail said undertrack drainage will be created and foundations for overhead power masts will be installed, before 100 tonnes of ballast and 50 metres of new sleepers/rails are laid to create the space needed for four-car trains to use the platform.

The redeveloped Glasgow Queen Street station is scheduled to be complete in 2020. The project is being delivered as part of the Scottish Government-funded Edinburgh-Glasgow Improvement Programme.

Alex Hynes, ScotRail Alliance managing director, said: “We are transforming Glasgow Queen Street and using a unique method to demolish these redundant buildings to create the space we need to construct a new landmark for Glasgow.

“Extending platform one and increasing its capacity from three to four carriage trains is also an important step in our plan to introduce more electric trains to Queen Street.

“The station redevelopment, and the recently completed electrification of the main Edinburgh-Glasgow line, are all part of our plan to build the best railway Scotland has ever had – delivering longer, faster trains with more seats.”

Contingency plans take hold in wake of Carillion collapse

Carillion is part of a coalition delivering the Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR)

Clients and joint ventures partners of collapsed contractor Carillion have taken steps to begin contingency plans after the firm entered compulsory liquidation today.

An application was made to the High Court for a compulsory liquidation of the UK’s second largest construction company before opening of business this morning after talks with the UK government to save the company were unsuccessful.

The firm had been involved in the £745 million Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) and had contracts with Registers of Scotland, the Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration, West of Scotland Housing Association and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde among many others.

Network Rail awarded Carillion a contract last year to deliver platform extension works and the firm is also responsible for two facilities management contracts worth £158m with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) which cover 83 military sites in Scotland.

Contingency plans have now been put into effect with the hope to minimise disruption to the projects.

Galliford Try is in joint venture with Carillion and Balfour Beatty on the construction of the £550m section of the AWPR between Balmedie and Tipperty for Transport Scotland.

“The Scottish Government are in discussions with the liquidators and the UK government to support Carillion employees and secure the completion of contracts.”

Economy secretary Keith Brown

Galliford Try said: “The terms of the contract are such that the remaining joint venture members, Balfour Beatty and Galliford Try, are obliged to complete the contract.  Our current estimate of the additional cash contribution outstanding from Carillion to complete the project is £60-80m, of which any shortfall will be funded equally between the joint venture members. The companies will discuss the position urgently with the official receiver of Carillion and Transport Scotland, to minimise any impact on the project.”

A Transport Scotland spokesman reiterated the bypass project will be completed by the spring.

He said: “We expect that any impact on the AWPR will be mitigated by the fact that Carillion’s construction partners are joint and severally liable and as such, the other two construction partners remain fully responsible for the completion of the works.

“Aberdeen Roads Limited, the construction joint venture for the project, confirmed recently that they remain committed to the delivery of this project.”

Amey has incorporated joint ventures with Carillion to deliver the regional prime and national housing contracts for the MoD, through the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO). These contracts maintain the MOD estate in the UK.

It said: “The terms of the joint ventures’ arrangements mean that Amey will continue the services now that Carillion has announced it is entering into immediate compulsory liquidation. Amey is committed to doing this and ensuring continuity of service to the DIO and MOD and the service men and women in the UK.

“For the past few weeks, Amey has been working on detailed contingency plans with the DIO and the Cabinet Office to ensure it can effectively continue to manage the contracts and these are being implemented today.

“Amey confirms it is fully prepared to continue the service obligation of the contracts without adverse effect on the employees of the joint ventures or the supply chain.”

Network Rail commissioned Carillion for both the Waverley platforms extension project and the electrification of the railway line through Shotts.

In addition, the firm was also contracted for platform works at Broughty Ferry and Aberdeen railway stations.

Carillion Powerlines secured an £11.6m contract to carry out electrification work on the Shotts line in December

A Network Rail spokesman said: “We are activating our contingency plans as a result of this unfortunate news.

“We will be working closely with the administrators and Carillion’s management team to ensure projects that they are working on continue and that the supply chain is maintained for this important work.

“Our aim is to ensure that this news has as little impact as possible on our projects to grow and expand the railway network.”

Kier Group, which currently operates joint ventures involving Carillion on HS2 and the Highways England smart motorways programme, jobs, will now have to take them on alone or seek a new partner.

A Kier spokeswoman said: “We have put in place contingency plans for each of these projects and are working closely with clients so as to achieve continuity of service.

“Following today’s announcement and after a short period of transition for these contracts, we do not expect there to be an adverse financial impact on the group arising from these joint venture contracts.”

The Construction Industry Training Board (CITB) said that it was “taking steps to secure the future of the 1,400 Carillion apprentices” by redeploying them to other firms.

CITB chief executive, Sarah Beale, said: “The news of Carillion entering insolvency is clearly a significant blow to the UK construction sector. While this will present the sector with a number of challenges, CITB’s priority is to do all it can to ensure that Carillion apprentices can continue their training so their skills are not lost.

“We have established a project team to work with the apprentices and will be offering in principle grant and apprenticeship transfer incentives to our employer base in order to retain these learners. We will be working closely with the ESFA, the official receiver and our network of college providers so that every possible support is in place to help these apprentices continue their training. We will be liaising with the official receiver with a view to contacting the apprentices as soon as possible.”

The Scottish Government said it is in talks to support Carillion employees and secure the completion of contracts in Scotland.

Cabinet secretary for the economy, Keith Brown, said: “Our first thoughts are with those Carillion employees who will be concerned for their jobs today and we are in discussions with the liquidators and the UK government regarding the measures they intend to put in place regarding private sector, Network Rail and UK govternment-backed contracts in Scotland to support Carillion employees and to secure the completion of these contracts.

“The Scottish Government has been working to manage or eliminate risks associated with Carillion’s difficulties since July last year and we have contingency plans in place for affected contracts, including the AWPR where the contract contains a mechanism for the remaining two joint venture partners to deliver the project and we expect that work to continue.

“I have spoken to the Secretary of State for Scotland this morning and my officials have also spoken with PwC to establish the situation and should it be necessary we stand ready to support for any affected employees through our Partnership Action for Continuing Employment (PACE) initiative which aims to minimise the time individuals affected by redundancy are out of work.”

Unfinished Glasgow Queen Street Station building ‘could be knocked down’

How the Glasgow Queen Street Station will look once completed

A partially constructed building that forms part of the Glasgow Queen Street Station project could be demolished as officials consider a larger development, according to reports.

Transport Scotland has ordered a review of the building in the car park, for rail staff and shops, as part of expanding the station to accommodate new electric trains on the main line to Edinburgh this year. The trains are finally due to start running in March, but other delays to the £800 million Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (Egip) have already put back completion of the station until 2020.

Now The Scotsman has reported that officials are considering bringing down part of the ongoing project in favour of a larger development in the car park.

According to the newspaper, the estimated cost of the U-turn is between £3m and £15m.

Network Rail said: “We have paused work while we explore potential changes to the scope with the Scottish Government.

“If the discussions result in a new development, then we’d most likely have to remove the steelwork.”

Transport Scotland said it would not delay longer trains and faster journeys in December, platforms being extended by December 2019 and the station concourse and frontage being completed by spring 2020.

A spokeswoman said: “Following the conclusion of Scottish minister-led discussions, options for an alternative development at the North Hanover Street site are being explored. These are expected to conclude in the coming weeks.

“All other works continue as planned.”

Carillion wins £11.6m Shotts Line electrification deal

Carillion Powerlines has secured a £11.6 million contract to carry out electrification work on the Shotts line.

The company will deliver enhancements to nine stations on the route between Holytown Junction and Midcalder Junction.

Features include platform reconstructions and renewals and enhancements to lighting, CCTV and customer information systems. Two stations at Livingston South and Breich are to be complete rebuilt with platforms extended at Carfin, Shotts and West Calder to enable the introduction of longer trains on the route.

Work on the stations element of the project is due to be completed in autumn 2018.

The electrification of 74km of railway along the Shotts line, as part of a wider £160m Scottish Government investment in the line, is due finish by March 2019.

Iain McFarlane, route delivery director for Network Rail, said: “This contract is another step forward for the delivery of the Shotts electrification project and further underlines our commitment to investing in and enhancing our infrastructure as part of our UK-wide railway upgrade plan.

“Electrification of the line across North Lanarkshire and West Lothian coupled with improvements at stations will transform the journey experience for rail passengers who will enjoy the benefits of improved services for many years to come.

“Throughout this project we will work closely with contractors, train operators and other stakeholders to deliver in the most efficient and cost-effective way possible while minimising disruption for both lineside communities and passengers.”

Martin C Smith, managing director at Carillon Powerlines, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded this contract to electrify the Shotts line across central Scotland and we look forward to working with the project team to enhance the railway network.

“This award reflects the depth of experience we can demonstrate in delivering infrastructure enhancements in a railway environment and will further enhance the relationship we have developed with Network Rail.”

Network Rail given green light to replace Stirling’s Kerse Road Bridge

scotrail train stockStirling Council has approved Network Rail’s planning application to replace the Kerse Road Bridge as part of the electrification of the area’s rail network.

The application sought permission to replace the existing bridge in order to meet the clearance distances required for the electrification of the railway line, and to address a number of defects identified with the existing structure.

Approving the application this morning, members of the council’s planning and regulation panel recognised the long term economic benefits this would bring to the area but stressed that Stirling Council officers will be working with the applicant to ensure that the short term impacts are minimised as far as possible.

The panel were only considering the application to replace the bridge at this meeting, in line with planning policy and legislation, and did not approve the programme of works proposed by Network Rail, or the traffic mitigation measures and road closures required.  These issues will be considered at a future date by the council’s environment and housing committee.

During the hearing, Network Rail outlined the reasons for the required bridge replacement in order for electrification of the line to occur across the central belt region; including the imperative to provide cleaner, faster and longer trains on the network.

It also outlined a much improved programme of work, which proposes a reduction in the full closure of Kerse Road Bridge from 12 months to 6 months.

If this programme of work is agreed, this will avoid both the 2017 and 2018 Christmas trading periods.

New images unveiled of extended Waverley platforms

waverley-extended-platform-12-1035x545Network Rail has today released new images showing how Edinburgh Waverley’s extended platforms will look once complete.

Engineers are currently working in Scotland’s second busiest station to extend platforms 5 and 6, to the east of the station, and 12, to the west.

The project will prepare Waverley for the arrival of Virgin East Coast’s new Azuma trains and ScotRail’s new class-385s.

As the project enters its next phase, work will soon begin to extend platform 12 further into the station and to remove redundant buildings on platform 11.

waverley-extended-platform 3To enable these vital enhancements to take place, the escalators on platform 11 will close to the public on Saturday, September 2, and reopen in early 2018 when the extended platform 12 comes into service.

Closing the escalators is the safest way to deliver the works as the need to erect hoardings around the platform extension site will reduce circulation space at the foot of the escalators creating the potential for overcrowding.

Additional station staff will also be on-hand when the escalators close to help passengers.

Rodger Querns, Network Rail programme director, said: “Extending Edinburgh Waverley’s platforms is vital to the long-term future of the station and paves the way for the introduction of two new state-of-the-art train fleets.

“Completing such a significant piece of engineering work in one of the country’s busiest stations is a significant challenge and one which will mean some short-term disruption to the platform 11 escalator.

“However, we are committed to carrying out these enhancements as quickly as possible and with the minimum of inconvenience for passengers.”

waverley-extended-platform 2The enhancements are being delivered as part of the Scottish Government’s Edinburgh Glasgow Improvement Programme (EGIP) and the Department for Transport-funded Intercity Express Programme (IEP).

The infrastructure works, and new rolling stock, will help to transform travel on both routes increasing passenger capacity and reducing journey times – by around 10 minutes between Edinburgh and Glasgow and by around 20 minutes between the two capitals.