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2019 – A Good Year For Rail

Rail projects have been in the news recently, with new contract awards for upcoming works announced last month, an extension to Crossrail, and debate over how best to deliver High Speed 2 on time and on budget. This year looks to be an exciting time for rail with lots of opportunities opening up on both new and existing projects.

CP6 Gearing Up for Delivery

The last couple months have seen increased contract awards in the rail sector, as Network Rail begins preparations for entering Control Period 6 (CP6). The £35bn programme will cover rail maintenance and renewals for the five-year period between 2019–2024. In early December, Network Rail awarded the first contracts of CP6, with Story Contracting winning the £135m Lot 2 (Scotland) contract, and AmcoGiffen awarded the £190m Lot 3 (London North East) contract. These contracts make up 2 of the 3 Renewals and Enhancements framework for the Scotland and North East Region, with a second framework made up of two lots available for geotechnical works.

Just before Christmas, three further contracts were awarded, with J Murphy & Sons winning Anglia (between £340m–£460m), Bam Nuttall winning the South East (between £640m–£860m) and Geoffrey Osborne winning Wessex (between £280m–£370m). These contracts form part of the Southern area, the second area to announce its contract awards.

These recent awards mean that significant portions of the four regional Infrastructure Projects areas (Scotland North East, Central, Southern, and Western and Wales) are still to be awarded prior to the start of CP6 in April 2019. In addition, there are national programmes for signalling, track, and the pan-regional Great North Rail Project (GNRP).

Transpennine On the Cards

Speaking of the GNRP, the £3bn project to upgrade the Transpennine Rail route between York and Manchester is set to begin in early Spring 2019 as part of CP6. The design contract for the infrastructure options – undertaken by Amey, BAM Nuttall and Arup – was awarded in October 2017, so design completion should be imminent ready for the spring start date, making this a good time to get involved on a new megaproject.

Crossrail Sticking Around

The news that Crossrail is at least three years away from completion does mean that there will still be a chance to work on one of the biggest rail projects in the UK. Station construction and tunnel fit-outs were cited as crucial activities to delivering the project, while dynamic testing of trains, track and signalling systems will all still be required before the project can reach completion – requiring competent site supervisors, quantity surveyors, and specialist rail engineers amongst others.

High Speed 2 Hitting the Ground

Initially expected to begin construction in March 2019, HS2 is now entering the final design stages with construction expected to commence in June 2019. Other works are still ongoing, such as the demolition of One Euston Square and Grant Thornton House, where the first crane was erected on site this week. Archaeology and utility diversion works are also underway, so the construction team can hit the ground running in the summer.

Rail Projects Abroad

Or, if you have already been there, done all that here in the UK, why not consider working abroad? The rail sector in Canada is particularly buoyant, with rail engineers, quantity surveyors, project managers and estimators all required to help deliver an ambitious programme to redevelop the rail network in Ontario.

For the regional rapid transit network serving the Greater Toronto-Hamilton area, GO Transit, over 150km of new track will be laid, and over 260km of track will be electrified or undergo signal enhancements over the next ten years. Construction professionals with rail expertise are in high demand, particularly electrification engineers and signalling engineers.

For rail design engineers, the Toronto Relief Line South was given the green light to proceed to design at the end of October 2018. This project will see a new light rail line built in the south of Toronto to help relieve congestion. And if you wanted to get started on a rail design project from the conceptual stage, the second phase – Relief Line North – has recently started work on identifying the route alignment and station locations for a new light rail line in Toronto, requiring skilled rail design engineers to help guide the initial design.

For rail design engineers, several Design-Build-Finance projects to upgrade and improve the existing rail services corridors to towns outside Toronto have recently been awarded and will be entering design. Existing stations will be expanded, existing tracks electrified, and new train control systems installed, requiring specialist rail design experience.

Act Now

If you are looking for a new rail project to work on in 2019, now is the time to get in touch or register your CV with us to be the first to hear about new opportunities. We can have an informal discussion about your needs and what roles we have that match.

About the Author

Steve Thomas
Construction Recruitment Director, UK & Canada
I am responsible for the Maxim Recruitment office in the UK where our team of recruitment consultants specialise in the recruitment of quantity surveyors, commercial managers, delay, dispute and claims consultants for civil engineering and building contractors and specialist construction consultancies.  I am also responsible for growing our recruitment operation in Canada and the USA where we are increasingly busy.  I have over 20 years’ experience in construction recruitment and enjoy working on both contingency and search/headhunting assignments for our repeat clients.
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Email: steve@maximrecruitment.com

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