Rail roundup

Construction Products Association is forecasting an increase in construction output of 5.3% in 2015, and 17.8% by 2018. However it has warned that mid-term growth between now and 2018 is likely to slow due to uncertainty and capacity constraints following the General Election. The forecast suggests that private house building is expected to rise by 10% in 2015 and 20.2% by 2018. Infrastructure. infrastructure activity is expected to increase by 7.9% in 2015 and a staggering 51.5% by 2018.

Network Rail is working to stabilise a large landslip which will keep the line closed between Banbury and Leamington Spa for several weeks. Specialist engineers are currently assessing the landslide – which is still slowly moving – to determine the scale of the problem. Remote sensing techniques are being used to monitor the landslide and remedial works will begin as soon as it is safe to do so. The cutting forms the approaches to Harbury Tunnel, and is excavated to depths of up to 30 metres through inter layered mudstones and limestone. Network Rail had been carrying out stabilisation work at the site after a much smaller landslide elsewhere at the site on 14 February 2014. These works were underway when the slope failed at 14:30 on Saturday 31 January. No one was injured when the landslide happened.

Track-laying has been completed for the new 50km Borders Rail Link in Scotland being built by BAM Nuttall for Network Rail. Construction of the completed link between Edinburgh and the Borders is forecast to cost £294M and includes seven new stations. It is set to open on 6 September.

Purchase of a new £50M ballast cleaner is key to a deal between Network Rail and suppliers Amey and Colas which will see 500 personnel transferred back in house with the rail operator. It is the largest people transfer into Network Rail since the phased insourcing of maintenance activities in 2005. High output project director Ben Brooks said: “The move will give us greater opportunity to drive continuous improvement in both safety and performance on site. It is fundamental to delivering our cost efficiencies and also allows longer term investment in training and development for the high output workforce, our fleet and maintenance facilities.”

Network Rail Consulting has been appointed by the Saudi Railway Company to be its partner on the 2750km North South Railway, providing management and technical support for infrastructure, freight and passenger operations.  Network Rail Consulting will be part of a consortium which includes Serco and Freightliner Group. Total value of the contract to the consortium is £120M over five years.