Rail roundup

Network Rail has published options for improving the rail route west of Exeter following the Dawlish collapse and flooding problems in the winter.  Options in the West of Exeter route resilience study are: 1 - base case' 2 - strengthening the existing railway; 3 - alternative route A on the fomer London & South Western route from Exeter to Plymouth via Okehampton; option 4 - constructing a modern double track railway on the alignment of the former Teign Valley branch line from Exeter to Newton Abbot; and option 5 - five alternative routes for a direct line from Exeter to Newton Abbot. You can read it here.

Labour leader Ed Miliband has said that the party would let the public sector challenge private rail operators to take on the running of franchises. He argues it would improve services and make sure there was British competition to foresight companies in bids to run the country’s trains. 

Hong Kong business MTR has won the deal to operate Crossrail trains from 2019. MTR also operates the London Overground concession with Arriva UK Trains as well as running the metro system in Hong Kong.

Ferrovial/ Laing O’Rourke has been named preferred bidder for the £600M London Underground Northern Line Extension contract. Four JVs had been in the running for the scheme with those to miss out: Bam Nuttall / Balfour Beatty; Bechtel / Strabag; and a Costain /Dragados / Sir Robert McAlpine JV. Contract award is planned for next month (August).

Network Rai has been fined of £53M after it “failed to deliver” on major commuter and long-distance punctuality last year, with many thousands more late trains than there should have been. Punctuality levels were 86.9%, significantly short of the target 92%, the Office of Rail Regulation said. Major projects did far better however, with 98 out of 118 delivered early or on time.

Department for Transport is to invest £500,000 to help rail suppliers secure new business at home and internationally. The funding will be provided to the newly formed Rail Supply Group headed by Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin, Business Secretary Vince Cable and Terence Watson, president of rail manufacturer Alstom UK. The group will also work with the industry to develop a mentoring scheme to help small and medium-sized businesses compete against more established firms. For more details on the SME mentoring scheme, contact the Rail Alliance at

Britain needs a third east-west high speed railway line in the north of England connecting the major cities because they are “collectively not strong enough” to challenge the dominance of London, Chancellor George Osborne has said. Britain needs a “northern powerhouse” of linked cities that can “take on the world”, he said (see comment by Antony Oliver)

A Keolis Amey joint venture has won the £700M deal to operate the Docklands Light Railway to 2021, beating incumbent Serco which has been running the DLR since 1997.  The contract begins on 7 December and runs until April 2021, with an option for this to be extended until 2023.

DAVID Cameron has announced a £500M funding boost for Glasgow to be invested in infrastructure and job creation, including construction of a long-awaited rail link from the city to its airport. The Scottish Government pledged to match the investment – taking the amount promised to £1bn.