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Network Rail (UK) signs up Austrian company, Powerlines, for one of the largest rail infrastructure projects in Europe

20. March 2014

Powerlines have received orders for two regions worth approximately €450 million from Network Rail. They will work with Carillion Rail in a 50/50 joint venture.

The Austrian Powerlines Group has been awarded a contract by Network Rail (UK) for the electrification of two regions. Network Rail is the authority responsible for operating and developing the UK rail network. Over the next 7 years Network Rail will be implementing a programme of electrification costing €2.4 billion; making it one of the largest rail investment projects in the whole of Europe. An international invitation for tenders enabled Network Rail to select the companies to implement work in a total of 6 regions. These regions have produced 20 projects, including rail routes that are to be electrified for the first time in England, Wales and Scotland.

Working in a 50:50 joint venture with Carillion Rail, Powerlines Group was the only company with the experience and capacity to apply for contracts in all 6 regions. The two contract regions acquired are Midland Main Line (approx. 550 km) and Scotland & North East Regions (approx. 75 km). The order value amounts to €450 million and work is to be completed within the next 5 years.

Gerhard Ehringer, CEO of the Powerlines Group: ‘To be part of this project of the century is a remarkable achievement indeed, and provides further justification for our strategy of internationalisation. Last year we achieved a significant breakthrough in the UK with the Great Western project along the London – Cardiff route. On top of our technical expertise, we are particularly strong in terms of providing custom-instructed specialists. New staff have been receiving British market-specific training in Doncaster and Coatbridge since autumn 2013. Network Rail is also aware of the benefits of electricity compared to diesel. Passengers and freight businesses enjoy the advantages of faster and quieter transport, increased environmental friendliness, improved reliability and greater affordability.’

Network Rail chose tenders submitted by experienced international providers. The main criteria, along with the price, were the standard of the technical concepts, the capacity of bidders to deliver what they offered, and the need to count on quality.

Internal staff training for work on catenary systems

In the autumn of 2013 Powerlines set up two training centres, one in Doncaster and one in Coatbridge, serving the joint venture with Carillion Rail. Specialist engineers are trained here to have the qualifications to master catenary system tasks along UK tracks. Current estimates show that by 2016 there will be demand for over 2000 qualified catenary system constructors in the UK. That is equivalent to ten times the demand placed on current capacity.

Powerlines Group

The Powerlines Group specialises in the electrification of railways (including tram and subway systems) as well as the construction of transmission lines for energy providers. The Powerlines Group is one of the largest 500 businesses in Austria and in the 2012/13 business year the company generated around €190 million in turnover (€170 million in 2011/12). Powerlines is a specialised niche player and has been a reliable partner for renowned European rail network operators and energy suppliers for many years. The principal markets of the Powerlines Group are those of Central Europe. The business is one of the market leaders in the German-speaking areas and in northern Europe (UK and Scandinavia).

Carillion is a leading integrated support services company with a substantial portfolio of Public Private Partnership projects and extensive construction capabilities. The Group had annual revenue in 2012 of some £4.4 billion, employs around 40,000 people and operates across the UK, in the Middle East and Canada. The four business segments of the Group are: Support Services, Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects, Middle East construction services and Construction Services (excluding the Middle East).

Mr Gerhard Ehringer, CEO Powerlines Group
Telephone: +43 1 258 00 80 – 101 (ext.)