Balfour Beatty wins £40m Network Rail Stoneblower contract
Balfour Beatty, the international infrastructure group, has been awarded a four-year contract worth more than £40m for the operations and maintenance of Network Rail’s fleet of track maintenance machines, known as Stoneblowers. The contract will deliver a minimum of 2,800 maintenance shifts per year across the UK rail network and includes the option to extend for an additional year.
Stoneblowers maintain the track by pneumatically injecting small stone under the sleepers filling the voids and stabilizing the track. The current Stoneblower fleet consists of 14 operational machines – 11 Plain Line machines allocated to specific geographical areas throughout the UK rail network and three Multi-Purpose machines which operate across all areas of the network.
Early in 2017 Network Rail placed an order for seven new Multi-Purpose machines to replace the aging Plain Line fleet. All seven Multi-Purpose machines will be delivered during the term of the contract with the first one entering service in 2020. Balfour Beatty will be responsible for providing the highly skilled crews required to operate the new Multi-Purpose machines on delivery and recruitment will commence early in 2019. Balfour Beatty will assist Network Rail and the Original Equipment Manufacturer with the commissioning of the new machines.
Mark Bullock, Managing Director, Balfour Beatty’s rail business said, “The award of this contract to maintain and operate Network Rail’s fleet of Stoneblowers demonstrates the technical rail expertise Balfour Beatty has gained over many generations of working on the railway. The contract is an exciting one for us as it not only includes the operation and maintenance of the current fleet, but also the introduction of seven new Multi-Purpose machines. We are delighted to be operating more plant for Network Rail on a national basis.”
At peak, the contract will employ approximately 140 including four apprentices and graduates, and has already commenced following a short mobilisation period.