Network Rail has begun its advance procurement for the next five-year funding period, promising that thousands of UK companies will benefit from the multi-billion pound investment programme.
It follows the publication last week of its Strategic Business Plan for Control Period 6 (CP6) - CP6 runs from 2019-2024 - outlining £47bn of potential expenditure based on the Government's statement of funds available.
Matthew Steele, commercial director, said: ‘The beginning of our CP6 procurement activity provides suppliers with a real opportunity to secure substantial work-banks and be part of delivering essential improvements that will help shape the future of Britain’s railway.’
Network Rail’s delivery arm for renewals and projects, Infrastructure Projects (IP), organises itself into four regional areas; Scotland North East, Central, Southern, and Western and Wales, and national programmes for signalling, track and the pan-regional Northern Programme.
It said the Scotland North East and Southern regions are anticipated to hold the most significant work-banks for CP6, with over £5bn of renewals spend estimated per region in addition to substantial network wide upgrades.
To help improve efficiency for both Network Rail and the supply chain, the tender and procurement process for CP6 has been phased.
This month, Scotland North East and Southern regions both commence their procurement programmes, with the remaining regions beginning the process between now and June.
Network Rail said that, for the supply chain, the extensive renewals workbank should provide opportunities across specialisms, with signalling (around £4.5bn) and track (around £3.5bn) representing the largest areas of expected spend.
'Considerable expenditure' is also expected within structures, electrification and fixed plant, buildings and telecoms.
Mr Steele added: 'For our part, we must remain a client of choice that engages with its supply chain in a mutually beneficial relationship, especially in what is poised to be a rapidly growing infrastructure market.’
Regulator the Office of Rail and Road will now review and consider Network Rail’s plan and publish its draft funding determination in June, and its final determination in the autumn.