Posted 9th July 2012 | 3 Comments

Network Rail launches international arm

NETWORK RAIL has launched an international rail consultancy, echoing the former Transmark business which was run by British Rail for more than two decades.

Making the announcement today, the company said: 'Network Rail Consulting will harness the vast range of skills and experience available within Network Rail to demonstrate British expertise overseas and be an international ambassador for Britain’s rail industry. It will also help channel innovation back into Network Rail’s core business, helping deliver a better value railway for Britain'.

The development is part of the present restructuring of Network Rail, which has already seen the devolution of the company's territorial routes, converting them into effectively standalone businesses with their own profit and loss accounts.

The new subsidiary Network Rail Consulting will seek foreign clients, offering its knowledge in several areas. As well as a general advisory service, the main topics will be Strategic Planning, Asset Management, Operations & Maintenance and Capital Projects.

Network Rail added that it intends to form strategic alliances with CH2M HILL and Atkins, to pursue the opportunities in its target markets. Other third-party consultants may also become involved as the business matures.

The company will be paying particularly close attention to countries such as the USA and India, which have large but ageing rail networks in need of modernisation.

NRC's new managing director is Nigel Ash, who said: "Network Rail has internationally valuable experience in developing innovative and pioneering approaches in asset management, and the successful delivery of large and complex capital projects, such as the Kings Cross redevelopment and the first stage of Thameslink. 

"In addition, we look after one of the most heavily used railways in the world, on largely Victorian infrastructure. Despite these challenges, our railway carries more people on more trains than ever before, with improving levels of punctuality.

"By proving ourselves in the international market, Network Rail will be able to demonstrate that it is a modern, efficient and competitive company."

The reform of Network Rail is being overseen by its chief executive David Higgins, who joined the company in February 2011. He added: "Our vision is to be a world-class independent British-based infrastructure group that is internationally respected for providing rail services and solutions that deliver outstanding value, responsibly. 

"Since the privatisation of the rail industry, Britain has not had a national rail champion operating in the international market. Network Rail has the depth and breadth of rail experience and knowledge to promote British expertise overseas and become a valuable international ambassador for our rail industry and for UK plc."

Transmark, which was the consultancy arm of the BR Research Division, was sold to Halcrow when the railways were privatised in the 1990s. 

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • MikeB, Liverpool

    Could this be a case of Network Rail setting up a new business which, if it becomes a global success, they then sell off to a cash-rich North American buyer for a substantial profit or is it just my sense of cynicism? Hopefully, I am proved wrong and this new consultancy becomes a highly successful and long-term part of Network Rail.

  • Lee, Manchester

    Sounds like Network Rail (a public sector body) is entering into the private sector. jamie, farnborough raises an interesting point as while Network Rail may have a lot of operational experience, it will find itself up against stiff competition from the likes of Aecom, Atkins, Mott McDonald and Bechtelto name a few consultancies icurrently operating in the British and Eurpoean markets, and all used by Network Rail in terms of design consultancy. The eurpoean rail companies tend to be pretty good at operating their networks. Don't know about the Americans, but their train operators are also infrastructure owners and already have considerable experience in operating in the Americas. I hope Network Rails losses if there are any, will be borne by Network Rail rather than the tax payer, DfT or TOC's.

  • Jamie, Farnborough

    So is Network Rail going to operate international rail services? If not, what exactly is this company going to do?