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DeltaRail and Network Rail – tensions remain despite high performance

DeltaRail says it has been Network Rail’s best-performing supplier for the past year – but that the owner and operator of Britain’s rail infrastructure finds DeltaRail’s performance and capabilities an “inconvenient truth”.

Derby-based DeltaRail remains angry that it was not given the chance to develop a prototype traffic management system for Network Rail, which instead chose Hitachi, Signalling Solutions and Thales. Thales recently won a contract to develop its solution at Cardiff and Romford (more in the June/July 2014 edition of RTM, including an interview with Thales's David Taylor).

DeltaRail maintains that its traffic management system can be implemented now, saving taxpayers over £1bn, but that Network Rail’s traffic management project “has been drawn out for three years and there will be at least another two years before the other suppliers’ equipment would be installed on the railway”.

That criticism – which made it into a Transport Select Committee evidence session – has been rejected by Network Rail at the highest levels, although it was deemed serious enough to be raised at the company’s main board meeting in January. The Transport Committee has published the reasons supplied by Network Rail on why DeltaRail did not get through the pre-qualification stage back in June 2011.

It also noted: “DeltaRail has gained significant ‘air time’ with many NR employees (and others) including a number of senior leaders, in relation to the current tender process and their revised offering. This is significantly more than any unsuccessful supplier in a competitive tender process would normally be given.”

But now, for the fourth quarter running, DeltaRail has topped the Network Rail PRISM Contractor Rating scheme across all disciplines and all supplier categories, it says. DeltaRail says it scored the highest possible marks across all projects and criteria, including timeliness, behaviour, design and safety.

Last year, Network Rail stopped ranking its suppliers publicly in this way based on that PRISM data, following conversations with the industry. It instead now groups them into bands, and does not normally comment on the achievements or failures of individual suppliers.  

DeltaRail CEO Anna Matthews said: “We are delighted to have been Network Rail’s top-performing supplier for a whole year now. It is fantastic that our continued focus on making a difference on each of our projects has been recognised by Network Rail’s project teams.

“Our significant investment in digital-age signalling control technology has been put to use on most of these projects. Some of them have included pilots of new technology such as the Remote Interlocking Interface (RIF) for remotely controlling SSI at Cowlairs. 

“It is a shame that Network Rail were ‘unable to comment’ on our achievement; perhaps Network Rail senior managers find our performance and capabilities an inconvenient truth. We, other suppliers and Network Rail‘s own project managers take PRISM seriously, using it as a measure of engagement, collaboration and project deliverables. If Network Rail seniors did the same, their comments and views would be more objective.”

A Network Rail spokesperson said: “The PRISM performance improvement tool has been instrumental in driving up engagement and collaboration throughout our supply chain. We are transparent in publishing PRISM data so the performance of suppliers can be seen and rewarded, however it would be inappropriate to comment specifically on any one supplier.”


Ampox   27/06/2014 at 11:53

Why is the BRITISH government not supporting BRITISH industry and BRITISH jobs, particularly when "British is Best", as shown here?

Observer   04/07/2014 at 13:26

So once again, like Railtrack did before with SSI and IECC technology, NR have set their minds against the historic success and an evolutionary approach in the hope that somewhere out there, there is something even better....odd then that the two pilot schemes have BOTH gone to Thales. Where can we see their traffic management systems in use please?

Terry O'donnell   16/11/2014 at 22:18

Delta Rail created the Ambimon Noise and Vibration on board test equipment used by First TranspennineExpress using their DR operators to confirm the track between Leeds and Huddersfield (Transpennine Route Leeds Manchester) on behalf of Network Rail using Network Rail imposed TSR's (reducing line speed by 25MPH) without the Ambimon operators knowledge to confirm an employees dismissal and sanction RMT lay representatives agreement in same. See Melisa Dunster vs First TranspennineExpress. Still under investigation. Some details including 70 page report on social media and within a forthcoming independent very detailed report to be published in 2015 into many railway industry employment issues. View albums on Facebook Terry O'Donnell Harrogate & Associate Ben Brown Darlington. Engineering Director Nick Donovan stated under oath "SPEED DOES NOT MATTER" . Who loves who? Or trust no-one!! Which is more realistically correct!

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