UK: Infrastructure manager Network Rail brought the handling of new and used ballast in-house with effect from July 1, by 'mutual agreement' with Frimstone Ltd which was previously contracted to operate local distribution centres at Carlisle, Crewe, Bescot, Toton, Doncaster, Whitemoor and Eastleigh. Around 40 staff transferred to NR from Frimstone.

The distribution centres accept 1·2m tonnes of used ballast and associated waste materials every year, and Network Rail expects to save around £1m/year by bringing the operations in-house.

Network Rail is also hoping to capitalise on the competitive markets for aggregates, supplying materials for producing asphalt, road surfacing and fill for civil engineering projects.