BRITISH infrastructure manager Network Rail (NR) has awarded six contracts worth a total of £4bn to install digital and conventional signalling from 2024 to 2034.

The new 10-year Train Control Systems framework replaces previous major signalling frameworks. According to NR, it has been designed to introduce new ways of working between the infrastructure manager and its signalling delivery partners.

Worth £1bn in total, Lot 1 of the new framework covers conventional signalling and comprises four contracts awarded to:

  • Alstom
  • AtkinsRéalis
  • Hitachi, and
  • Siemens.

Lot 2 is worth £3bn and covers the installation of digital signalling using ETCS technology. Four contracts have been awarded to:

  • Alstom
  • AtkinsRéalis and CAF
  • Siemens, and
  • Thales and VolkerRail.

NR has confirmed to IRJ that this is the first time that CAF and Thales have entered the British signalling market.

As well as fostering greater collaboration between NR and its contractors, the Train Control Systems framework has changed the way in which contractors are selected and awarded work.

A new Network Rail Allocation Group will match contractors to signalling projects based on a range of factors. NR says that this approach should help to reduce the peaks and troughs in workload experienced by its signalling contractors.

Major signalling projects to be delivered in the early stages of the framework include resignalling with conventional technology under the Midlands Rail Hub project to increase capacity by enabling more trains to use Birmingham Moor Street station.

It will also cover digital signalling for the Transpennine Route Upgrade (TRU), where ETCS Level 2 is to be installed from Stalybridge on the eastern outskirts of Manchester to Colton Junction south of York.

In addition, resignalling with ETCS Level 2 between Warrington and Carlisle forms part of the TriLink programme to upgrade the northern section of the West Coast Main Line (WCML) that connects London with Glasgow.

“Our new train control systems framework brings a positive change in approach to how we work with suppliers,” says Mr Clive Berrington, group commercial and procurement director at Network Rail.

“We will all be working much more collaboratively with each other and our relationships will feel like partnerships.

“Through the framework, we have grown the size of the UK signalling market with the introduction of two new suppliers. These bring increased diversity and capability, leading to better market performance.”

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