Network Rail reforms contracting strategy

Network Rail is radically overhauling the way it works with suppliers to deliver £6bn of rail projects as it seeks to reduce costs and generate better value from its major investment programme.

The move will open up Network Rail’s biggest rail projects and programmes to Britain’s leading construction and engineering companies at an early stage, enabling them to create value throughout the development process. The reforms will create ‘joint-venturing’ delivery teams which will enable Network Rail to capitalise on the expertise and innovation that private enterprise can bring to reduce project delivery costs.

To help develop the proposals, Network Rail hosted a summit on 18 March with the leaders of 25 of Britain’s biggest construction and engineering companies to fully engage with suppliers and seek their support in refining how the new contracting strategy will work.

The move will enable Network Rail to adopt a more market-led approach to project delivery, helping the company identify where costs can be cut across its renewals and enhancement programmes.

Early involvement will see suppliers fully integrated into Network Rail’s delivery teams to develop project options and deliver the best solutions. Opening up schemes to suppliers in this way will enable Network Rail to deliver its projects faster, safer and more efficiently while creating better value throughout the development, design and delivery processes.


In drawing up the reforms, Network Rail looked at what worked best in other industries in the UK and across the world, and consulted extensively with its suppliers and trade associations on its plans.

Simon Kirby, Network Rail’s director, investment projects, said: “The rail industry must reduce costs and these radical reforms will revolutionise the way we deliver our projects, helping to slash red tape and restrictive bureaucracy while generating significant cost savings and efficiencies.

“By ‘joint-venturing’ with our suppliers in this way, we can create an environment that fully integrates our delivery partners into our projects to achieve a common goal, helping Network Rail deliver a bigger, better value railway.”