Railway aerial view

Network Rail is seeking private sector investment to secure the upgrading of its trackside optical fibre cable network without needing government or passenger funding. NR will not require the full capacity, which could be used by a third party to run its own telecoms services. ‘This proposal makes good business sense for all parties’, said CEO Andrew Haines. ‘We get a cutting-edge, future-proof telecoms infrastructure; the investor gets a great business opportunity; train passengers in Britain get an improved service for years to come; and the taxpayer saves a significant amount of money.’ Lazard is acting as Network Rail’s adviser.


East Riding of Yorkshire Council has appointed Willmott Dixon to develop an £8m business centre with office and workshop space for SMEs in Goole, creating ‘rail village’ in conjunction with the future Siemens Mobility factory. This business centre forms Phase 1 of the Rail, Accelerator & Innovation Solutions hub for Enterprise project, with a £50m rail research and innovation centre to be developed by Siemens Mobility and the University of Birmingham under RaisE Phase 2.

Dyer & Butler Appointed to Network Rail Structural Integrity Southern Region Framework

Dyer & Butler has been awarded a place on Network Rail’s Structural Integrity Southern Region Framework, covering brickwork repairs, vegetation clearance, preventative maintenance, steelwork repairs and the clearing and inspection of signal gantries across Kent, Sussex and Wessex. The initial three-year contract term has an annual value of £1·2m and includes an option to extend by another two years.


The GO-OP co-operative which hopes to launch open access passenger services between Taunton and Swindon has produced proposed timetables, and Network Rail has established that there is capacity on the network. NR said further work, including performance analysis and evidence of rolling stock suitability, would be needed before it could decide whether to support the plan.

SLC Operations EndPointAssessment

SLC Operations has met the National Skills Academy for Rail criteria to deliver End Point Assessments for Train Driver Level 3 apprentices across all rail sectors through its Rail Academy in Kings Norton, Birmingham. It said it was the first train operator and second company in the UK to be approved. ‘It is estimated that over 1 000 people are currently going through training to become drivers in the UK, and most are going through an apprenticeship’, said Managing Director Cath Bellamy.

Infrastructure stabilisation company Geobear has appointed Dr Mohammed Wehbi as Rail Technical Director. He was previously a Senior Design Engineer in Network Rail’s National Track Bed Investigation & Design team. ‘His outstanding expertise and knowledge of permanent way will help us to deliver greater efficiencies for Network Rail’, said CEO Otso Lahtinen.

Samaritans 3

Northern passengers can now donate refunds to the Samaritans charity from the Delay Repay form on the operator’s website. ‘The charity has trained many of our frontline staff to spot someone who might be vulnerable, giving them the confidence to simply start a conversation which could help save a life’, said Commercial & Customer Director Mark Powles.

Tyne and Wear Metro sign

Tyne & Wear Metro operator Nexus has been fined £1·5m after pleading guilty to an offence under the Health & Safety at Work Act. This follows the July 2014 death of an employee at South Gosforth depot who was electrocuted after contacting a wire which he believed to be isolated from the power supply, but, due to the incorrect installation of equipment, was live. The Office of Rail & Road found safety-critical procedures were ignored, and some continued for a substantial period after the death.

Network Rail has been fined £696 666 after pleading guilty to an offence under the Health & Safety at Work Act for failing to protect the safety of staff following an incident at Godinton substation in Kent in December 2018. An employee was seriously burned after NR failed, over a significant period of time, to prevent water leaking into the building and to maintain dehumidifiers. ‘This case highlights the importance of acting to reduce or eliminate known risks at an early stage’, said HM Chief Inspector of Railways Ian Prosser. ‘Network Rail knew of the water leak at Godinton for nine months and despite concerns raised by staff and contractors, the required work was repeatedly delayed.’