East West Rail jacket

UK: East West Railway Co has begun market engagement for the procurement of an Enterprise Partner which would support it with the specification, delivery, launch and operation of the Oxford to Cambridge service, embedding ‘private sector expertise and new ways of working’ within the organisation.

The Enterprise Partner would have two primary roles, with the first being to support EWR Co in developing specifications, overseeing delivery and preparing for opening. This contract would run for 15 years from 2022, with payments based on resources contributed with enhanced margins, and deferred to the point at which outcomes materialise.

Bletchley East West Rail station impression

The second function would be to act as Integrated Operator, combining the role of a train operating company and asset manager. This would commence in 2024 with responsibility for operations on Connection Stage 1 (Oxford – Bletchley – Milton Keynes), where infrastructure works are being managed by Network Rail. This would be followed by operations and asset management for Connection Stage 2 (Oxford – Bedford) and 3 (Oxford – Cambridge). It would be a long-term contract, with payment on a cost reimbursable basis with performance-linked margins.

EWR Co said it has confidence in its proposed model, which ‘opens up exciting potential for organisations within and beyond the rail sector’, but is seeking to test it with the market ahead of procurement.

East West Rail construction

‘The Enterprise Partner model we have been developing over the past few months is an exciting opportunity for the right organisation or organisations to join us early and at a strategic level to deliver our ambitious vision for East West Rail’, said CEO Simon Blanchflower on July 28.

‘The model represents a unique way of drawing together the ideas and concepts at the forefront of industry thinking — an enterprise approach, a long-term focus on outcomes and early involvement from the supply chain — in a way which achieves the best outcome for passengers, local residents and for the taxpayer.’

  • Buckinghamshire Council has agreed to continue pressing the government to commit to building the East-West Rail branch to Aylesbury and double-tracking between Princes Risborough and Aylesbury. ‘We remain concerned that the recent funding announcement did not commit to the completion of the proposed spur between Aylesbury and Milton Keynes’, said Councillor Mark Winn on July 27. ‘This spur was originally conceived as a key part of this project.’