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Carillion frontrunner to take over North West Electrification

Carillion is set to take over the North West Electrification project in addition to electrifying the recently ‘un-paused’ Midland Main Line and the Shotts Line between Edinburgh and Glasgow, following an Early Contractor Involvement deal with Network Rail.

The infrastructure company has bagged a number of frameworks and Early Contractor Involvement contracts with Network Rail. It is doing the Midland Main Line electrification works as part of the CarillionPowerlines partnership, which won the Central (East Midlands) and Scotland & North East region electrification works under a geographic framework contract from Network Rail Infrastructure Projects in early 2014

It has now confirmed that it could potentially replace Balfour Beatty in the north west venture after the company was dropped from the project in August – reported first by RTM – after which Network Rail expected to draft a “full transition plan” to ensure the work continued and the new contractor was appointed swiftly.

But a Network Rail spokesperson said no formal contracts have been signed yet, adding that the body is working with Carillion "on various options" of the programme.

In 2014-15, Carillion was Network Rail’s biggest supplier, winning £361m of work – 4.8% of the total. Balfour Beatty was the fourth biggest supplier, on £241m (3.2%).

In September, transport minister Andrew Jones MP guaranteed that the North West Electrification programme would continue “at pace” despite Balfour Beatty’s withdrawal.

His statement came after Lilian Greenwood MP, shadow transport secretary, asked what effect the withdrawal would have on the delivery timetable – which Network Rail had told RTM in August was already being re-examined.

Carillion is now expected to take over following the “practical completion” of phase 2 between Manchester, Liverpool and Wigan, continuing with the alliance framework through phases 3 to 7.

According to previous reports, phase 3 is Preston to Blackpool North, phase 4 is Manchester to Preston, phase 5 is Manchester Victoria to Stalybridge and Ashburys West Junction to Philips Park West Junction / Baguley Fold Junction, as well as Guide Bridge to Stalybridge, and phase 6 is assumed to be Wigan to Bolton. These phasings were announced before the ‘pause’ of TransPennine electrification, resumed last week per Sir Peter Hendy’s recommendation.

464 NE electClick on the image to enlarge it.

Commenting on the series of secured contracts, scoping national and international infrastructure and construction programmes, Carillion’s chief executive, Richard Howson, said: “As we expected, the pace of work winning in the second half of the year has started to pick up.

“Since the half year, we have secured contracts, preferred bidder positions and framework agreements that are expected to be worth around £1.7bn.”

The firm expects to generate over £400m from its electrification contracts with Network Rail, in addition to £311m from successful bids in national construction ventures with Highways England and councils.

According to a Network Rail spokesperson, Balfour Beatty’s design services will be retained.

The national picture

The regional framework contracts for the National Electrification Programme (NEP) as originally announced last year were as follows:

Southern: AmeyInabensa

Central (LNW, South): ABC Electrification

Central (East Midlands): CarillionPowerlines

Central (LNW, North): Balfour Beatty (since dropped) 

Scotland and North East: CarillionPowerlines

Western & Wales: ABC Electrification

Many other companies are involved at tier two level and on Network Rail electrification schemes outside the scope of the NEP, as well as for Crossrail, TfL and other clients. These include Keltbray, Arup, Parsons Brinckerhoff, Atkins, Systra, Amey’s GWML team, and Balfour Beatty’s Track Partnership with London Underground.

(Top image c. PA Wire)


Andrew Macfarlane   13/10/2015 at 12:53

I think you mean the Shotts line between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

RTM   13/10/2015 at 12:59

You're right of course, typo corrected.

Neil Palmer   13/10/2015 at 17:06

"Carillion is not expected to take over following the “practical completion” of phase 2 between Manchester, Liverpool and Wigan,...". Should that be: Carillion is NOW expected to take over..." ?

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