Rail Industry Focus

05.02.20

Network Rail awards £257m contract for portable plant

Network Rail has awarded a contract to VP Plc worth £257m for the hire, supply and maintenance of portable plant.

The agreed contract covers all 13 of Network Rail’s routes, and the maintenance and repair of 28,000 items of portable rail equipment owned by Network Rail, as well as the hire and supply of other small plant.

The first phase of the contract covers a six-year period from April 1 2020 to March 31 2026, with potential to extend to 31 March 2028.

The agreement involves small plant for the railway powered by external means, including rail drills, torque wrenches, chainsaws, handheld tamping machines and any related consumables, from oil to repairs and small parts.

Coinciding with National Apprenticeship week, the announcement also includes the creation of 42 Level 3 NVQ apprenticeship schemes in Construction Civil Engineering: Plant Maintenance, which will run over the six years as part of the contract.

The new partnership will also allow for more sustainable railways of the future, with more options for routes to switch from using owned, petrol-operated small plant to battery-operated hired items.

Garry Pyne, lead sourcing manager, Network Rail, said:

“The plant now available for hire is innovative and modern, more reliable and cheaper to maintain. It is better for the environment and its lower vibration levels mean it is safer for our employees. 

“The battery-operated vegetation clearance kit is much quieter, which is better for people living by the railway. 

“We are also rolling out Bluetooth tracking on desirable items, so they are less likely to be lost or stolen. There’s a real opportunity and incentive to switch to hiring new small plant and start to phase out our older, owned plant.”

VP Plc is the parent company of Torrent Trackside and Brandon Hire Station, two previous suppliers of small plant to Network Rail.

Pictured left to right: Brian Sherlock, managing director, Brandon Hire Station; Jonathan May, managing director, Torrent Trackside; Garry Pyne, sourcing manager, Network Rail; Catherine Ferris, supplier manager, Network Rail

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