British Steel wins contract extension to supply Network Rail track for a further two years

By Scunthorpe Telegraph | Posted: 19 Sep 2018

British Steel has won an extension to its supply contract with Network Rail, the company behind Britain’s rail infrastructure.

More than half-a-million tonnes – 9,000km – of high quality rail will already have been supplied  when the company’s current five-year contract finishes in March next year.

Now a two-year extension has been agreed which will see the Scunthorpe giant supply Network Rail with more than 200,000 tonnes –4,000km – of rail.

The contract was being rubber-stamped in Berlin today at InnoTrans, the international trade exhibition for transport technology. It is a timely tonic following last week's announcement that 400 jobs could go as it streamlines for future growth, with professional, management and administration roles at risk. 

Ron Deelen, British Steel’s chief marketing officer, said: “This is excellent news, not only for British Steel but the millions of people who use the UK’s rail network.

“During the course of the last five years we’ve worked extremely closely with Network Rail, ensuring the on-time delivery of half-a-million tonnes of high quality rails in lengths of up to 216m.

“Together we’ve helped find solutions to the challenges they face, enabling us to develop and install new products which reduce the need for costly and time-consuming maintenance and replacement works. This allows more traffic with less rail maintenance – major benefits for passengers and freight operators, and provides Network Rail with excellent value for money.

“We enjoy an excellent partnership with Network Rail and over the course of the current contract, and the new one, we look forward to further strengthening that and ensuring Britain’s railways remain on the right track.”

Read more: Fears Scunthorpe site will be worst hit from 400 proposed job losses

Among the rails British Steel will be supplying to Network Rail are two long-life rail innovations –  HP335 and Zinoco.

HP335 was approved by Network Rail in 2012 after extensive trials and was designed to cut life cycle costs through reduced grinding frequency, reduced wear and extended rail life. It is the premium rail of choice in the UK mainline network and many light rail operators have also adopted HP335 as their high performance rail solution.

Zinoco – the first innovation announced under the British Steel brand following the Greybull buy-out of Tata Long Products –  is a corrosion protected rail designed to greatly extend rail life in aggressive environments such as level crossings, tunnels and coastal regions. Its success has led to a recent expansion in production facilities with a multi-million-pound investment at Scunthorpe due to be commissioned shortly.

The rails – which will largely be used for maintenance and renewals – will be supplied during Network Rail’s Control Period Six (CP6), its five-year plan to maintain and improve Britain’s railways. CP6 runs between 2019 and 2024 and is designed to make the railway more reliable and cost efficient while increasing capacity and building on its reputation as the safest railway in Europe.

Mr Deelen said: “We’re very much ready for the challenges CP6 will bring and pleased to be supporting Network Rail during its next control period. This is another excellent demonstration of how we can work with the national operators to deliver the products and services they require.”

British Steel supplies Network Rail with 95 per cent of its rails, with the past your years of the current contract seeing it deliver 98 per cent of rail to Network Rail on time, in full.

Rob Morton, supply chain operations director for route services at Network Rail, said: “We are proud to extend our historic relationship with British Steel for a further two years. It is pleasing to see two British organisations trading for mutual benefit and for the benefit of the wider British economy.

“This new deal is an example of how we continually review our sourcing options to provide the safest network and maximise value for money for the British taxpayer.

“We look forward to working together closely with British Steel over the coming years, continuing our innovative and constructive partnership.”

Today’s announcement comes a short time after Transport for London (TfL) also activated a two-year contract extension with British Steel for the supply of rails to London Underground.

Since being awarded a Framework Agreement in 2012, British Steel has supplied over 42,000 tonnes of rail for use on the Tube’s infrastructure – more than 85 per cent of TfL’s annual rail requirements.



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