Contractors named for £7bn Network Rail framework

Network Rail has appointed a three  contractors to carry our £7bn of works on three routes in the south of England. Under the framework a single contractor was appointed to carry out work on one of three routes. Bam Nuttall was chosen for the South east route, J Murphy was chosen for Anglia, and Geoffrey Osborne was handed the Wessex line.

The firms will be responsible for building, civils, electrification, power, signalling, telecommunications and track works.  The contracts cover an initial five-year period, with Network Rail able to extend them by a further three years.


Don’t forget the Women in Rail Awards 2019

Showcasing and rewarding individuals and companies (large or small) who have made a significant contribution to improving gender balance, diversity and inclusion in the UK railway industry.

Taking place on Wednesday 15 May 2019, at the historic Roundhouse in Camden, the closing date to nominate has now been extended to 14 February.  To nominate, attend, sponsor or for more information click here.

Education & Skills Funding Agency publishes new guidance on off-the-job training

The Education & Skills Funding Agency has recently published new guidance for those involved in “off-the-job training”:

  • Steps to help you determine whether an activity counts as off-the-job training –  a flowchart to help employers determine which activities counts as off-the-job training. To download the flow chart click here.

  • Myth vs Fact – a myth-busting document to counter five common myths surrounding off-the-job training. To download the flow chart click here.

For more information regarding off-the-job training visit the appropriate section on the Education and Skills Funding Agency government website by clicking here.

First look at new TransPennine Express Nova 1

TransPennine Express has received the first of its Nova 1 trains to be delivered in TransPennine Express branding.

The first Nova 1 set has now completed more than 15,000 miles of fault free running. The set was tested out at night on 7th January for the first time on TPE’s North route, which will continue in the weeks to come, alongside testing on the West Coast Main Line.

The Nova 1 is a bi-mode train which operates using diesel or electric power. The new trains will operate between Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle and Edinburgh and will have 342 seats – an increase of 161 seats on the current models. The Nova 1 will be maintained by Hitachi in Doncaster and Edinburgh.

Planning permission has been granted for the construction of a station at Horden

Planning permission has been granted for the construction of a station at Horden on the Durham Coast line near Peterlee, with work expected to begin shortly for opening in spring 2020. The station will have two 100 m platforms, an accessible footbridge, shelters, a 136-space car park, bus stops, a  new access road, footpath and cycleway. The £10·6m project will be funded by Durham County Council, the Department of Transport’s New Stations Fund (£4·4m) and a grant from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership.

‘The new station will significantly improve transport links in the east of the county, providing a boost to the economy and widening employment opportunities for local residents’, said Councillor Simon Henig, Leader of Durham County Council. ‘It has been a long time in the making with a lot of hard work involved so it is particularly pleasing that work can now start’.

NSAR understands the need to support SME businesses in Rail

At the start of 2018 there were 5.6 million small businesses –  2.2 million (+63%) more businesses than there were in 2000.  According to the Federation of Small Businesses, SME’s accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses  in 2018.  The government recognises the significance of this group and provides support via  schemes such as Regional Growth Fund, Start-up loans, Government grants and more.

NSAR is also well aware of the importance of SME’s as they form the backbone of the engineering supply chain for the UK Rail Industry with some  60% of the investment spend being delivered by an SME companies.  We believe one of our key roles is to provide support to SME companies by:

  • Providing information or helping to access information on accredited training providers, academic and vocational training programmes, apprenticeships, availability of grant funding or other financial support
  • Encouraging and supporting mutual support within the SME community
  • Supporting knowledge and resource sharing between SME companies and the large client and contractor/consultant organisations

For more information regarding NSAR SME Support click here.

Network Rail Digital MD David Waboso to retire March 2019

The managing director of Network Rail’s Digital Railway, David Waboso, will retire in March 2019. Chief Executive Andrew Haines stated that Waboso was leaving with a “fantastic legacy” and a “clear direction for delivery through CP6 and beyond.”

Responsible for projects including boosting the use of digital signalling and train control technologies through the Digital Railway Programme, Waboso joined Network Rail in 2016,  after working as an engineering director for London Underground. Waboso received a CBE for his services to transport in the capital and his central role in leading the Underground’s largest ever upgrade, the Jubilee Line extension.

A further announcement on the transitional arrangements and his replacement will be made in due course.

Facilitating training requirements within the rail industry

NSAR is aware that employers, academia and training providers who operate within the rail industry need assistance in delivering training requirements.
Due to our strong relationships with these stakeholder groups we use our unique position to support employer and training providers facilitate training requirements within Rail.

NSAR Skills & Training division provides guidance on apprenticeships, development of apprenticeship standards, curriculum development, Ofsted inspections and much more.

For more information NSAR Skills & Training services click here.

Five major achievements for Network Rail’s Upgrade Plan in 2018

Network Rail recently highlighted it’s 5 biggest achievements for 2018:

  1. Waterloo fully reopens – The former Eurostar terminal at London Waterloo station reopened permanently on 10 December 2018 for the first time since international services moved to St Pancras in 2007, as part of the £800m project to increase capacity on the South Western Railway network.
  2. London Bridge transformed – Fully reopened in January, having been transformed by Network Rail as part of the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme. Its historic £1bn redevelopment included a vast new concourse larger than the pitch at Wembley to unite 15 platforms for the first time.
  3. Lime Street upgrade completes – The £140m transformation of Liverpool Lime Street station completed in October 2018 with the full reopening of all 10 of the station’s platforms.
  4. Record-setting re-signalling – In April 2018 Network Rail delivered the biggest ever re-signalling – a £130m project to enable GWR to run more frequent services to London, and provide faster trains and more seats to passengers.
  5. Intercity Express trains herald a new era – Great Western Railway’s 12.10 arrival at Paignton from London Paddington on 28 July 2018 marked the first Intercity Express Train to travel to the seaside town. The 9-carriage long Class 800 train, 800309, was the first Intercity Express Train to travel from London beyond Exeter in passenger service.

For more information visit the Network Rail Website.

Home Office Immigration White Paper sets out the UK’s future immigration regime

The Home Office has released an Immigration White Paper setting out the UK’s future immigration regime.  The White Paper addresses 11 questions identified by businesses including:

  1. How do businesses/employees apply for skilled-work visas to the UK?
  2. How do EU citizens apply for skilled-work visas to the UK?
  3. Will there be exceptions to ensure specific priority industries retain access to labour?
  4. How do businesses/employees apply for unskilled-work visas to the UK?
  5. Will business be able to move skilled staff members between the UK and the EU in future?
  6. What do businesses need to do to comply with new requirements for business travel between UK and EU?
  7. How do businesses/employees apply for short-term visas to work in the UK?
  8. How do businesses/employees apply for short-term visas to work in the EU?
  9. Will there be exceptions / fast-track procedures to accommodate essential maintenance in the priority sectors?
  10. Will there be new visa requirements for current EU citizens studying UK?
  11. How do universities/students apply for short-term visas to study in the UK?

You can download the summary document  which will lead you to the relevant chapters of the White Paper for answers to the questions by clicking here.