Network Rail Consulting, as part of a British consortium, has announced that the consortium has been appointed by the Saudi Railway Company (SAR) to be its partner, providing management and technical support for infrastructure, freight and passenger operations on one of its rail projects, the North South Railway (NSR). The contract which was signed on the 23 February 2015 has a total value to the Consortium of £120m over 5 years.
The Saudi Railway Company is a government owned company established in 2006 by the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the investment arm of Saudi Arabian Ministry of Finance. PIF assigned SAR to develop and operate railway services comprising passenger, general freight and heavy haul. The North South Railway which at over 2,750km is one of the largest rail projects currently being developed worldwide. The overall rail network that SAR is responsible to construct and operate is more than 4,500 km.
Network Rail Consulting will provide technical assistance, interim management and training for infrastructure management to SAR for this flagship project. The scope of the contract, which runs for five years, includes capacity management, network planning, train planning, passenger station operations, scheduling, dispatching, engineering, asset management, and infrastructure maintenance management.
The consortium comprises Serco who will be providing technical assistance, interim management and training for passenger services and Freightliner Group who will be providing technical assistance, interim management and training for freight operations.
Dr Rumaih al Rumaih, CEO of the Saudi Railway Company (SAR), said that SAR will soon complete the construction of the North South Railway to transport minerals, cargo and passengers.
He said:“In order to manage this new network, SAR went out to tender and invited a number of companies, based on their international experience in rail operations and infrastructure management, in order to support SAR. SAR's vision is to implement world-class railway practises and deliver the highest standard of technical, commercial and operational service excellence to all SAR customers, as well as to ensure the transfer of technical and operating knowledge and skills, including training, to provide long-term employment opportunities for Saudis, to operate the rail network and develop the railway industry in Saudi Arabia.”
"After an extensive exercise supported by international business consultants AT Kearney, a UK Consortium consisting of Serco Group plc, Network Rail Consulting and Freightliner Group successfully won the tender process against strong international competition, and we look forward to working with them to achieve SAR's strategic plans in a 5 year commercial partnership"
Nigel Ash, managing director of Network Rail Consulting, said: “That a joint British bid has won this prestigious contract against strong international competition demonstrates that we have the right blend of knowledge, experience and expertise within our industry.
“One of our goals when we launched Network Rail Consulting in 2012 was to export British rail expertise around the world and this long term contract with SAR firmly establishes us in the Middle East, where other state owned European railway consultancy arms have been successful for many years”
“The contract also allows us to share best practice with SAR on the introduction of the latest signalling and traffic management systems which both Network Rail and SAR have purchased for their respective networks.”
The contract is the largest secured by Network Rail Consulting so far and builds on recent successes in the Australian rail market.
Network Rail Consulting was set up in 2012 as a subsidiary of Network Rail. It aims to harness the vast range of skills and experience available within Network Rail to demonstrate British expertise overseas and be an international ambassador for Britain's rail industry. It also helps channel innovation back into Network Rail's core business, helping deliver a better value railway for Britain.