Network Rail takes bids for Midlands project

Busy at Birmingham New Street (Network Rail) Network Rail

Network Rail is seeking bids for significant infrastructure deals in the Midlands of England. The infrastructure agency is preparing to undertake major works as part of the Midlands Rail Hub program. Valued at around 1.4 billion pounds (1.7 billion euros), this framework encompasses various tasks crucial for enhancing the railway network in the region.

The invitation for bids includes a range of tasks such as geotechnical work, maintenance of bridges and tunnels, management of rock cuttings and earthworks, as well as smaller-scale projects related to buildings and structures. The Midlands Rail Hub program aims to improve rail connectivity and stimulate economic growth through a series of projects.

Freight loops and Moor Street chords

Network Rail is looking for two primary alliance partners to handle a programme worth one billion pounds (1.17 billion euros) of non-signalling works, and another shopping list worth 350 million pounds (410 billion euros) for signalling works. These partners will work under the recognised terms of a NEC4 Alliance Contract (the standard recognised New Engineering Contract).

The successful bidders will be required to design and execute various aspects of the project, including the construction of new platforms and sidings, introduction of new chords into Birmingham Moor Street, widening existing viaducts, upgrading power supply, creating new freight loops, installing overhead line equipment, and implementing signalling works.

Unlock existing capacity constraints

Birmingham, being one of the most complex and congested parts of the British rail network, is a focal point of the Midlands Rail Hub initiative. The program proposes to increase capacity at Birmingham Moor Street station, which will be adjacent to the new HS2 station at Curzon Street, and alleviate congestion on key rail corridors radiating from Central Birmingham.

Birmingham Moor Street will play a bigger part in transport for the region under the Midland Hub Project (Network Rail air services)

One of the critical components of the program is the Bordesley to Moor Street enhancements. This project aims to construct new railway infrastructure to connect the Camp Hill line (an alternative city crossing) to the Chiltern main line (to London via Oxford), allowing more trains to use Birmingham Moor Street station. That should be good news for nearby New Street – the busiest passenger station outside London. The new railway is expected to unlock existing capacity constraints in central Birmingham and provide opportunities for improved journeys further afield.

Commitment to meeting future demand

The procurement process starts as West Midlands Trains, the locally-based passenger train operator, has just taken delivery of the first of a new fleet of Alstom-built multiple units. The trains are being delivered in anticipation of significantly increased demand in future.

Currently, Network Rail is preparing the Outline Business Case for the Department for Transport to secure funding. The procurement process for the Midlands Rail Hub program involves a market briefing scheduled for January, followed by a formal invitation to tender. This initiative signifies Network Rail’s commitment to meeting future demand, improving rail infrastructure, and fostering economic development in the Midlands region.

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Author: Simon Walton

Simon Walton is UK correspondent for RailTech.com and Railfreight.com

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