Balfour Beatty awarded a Network Rail ‘Stoneblower’ operations and maintenance contract worth more than £40m
05 February 2018
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.
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Image: A Stoneblower Multi-Purpose machine
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Notes to editors:
• Balfour Beatty (www.balfourbeatty.com) is a leading international infrastructure group. With 30,000 employees, we provide innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. We finance, develop, build and maintain complex infrastructure such as transportation, power and utility systems, social and commercial buildings.
• Our main geographies are the UK, US and Far East. Over the last 100 years we have created iconic buildings and infrastructure all over the world including the London Olympics’ Aquatic Centre, Hong Kong’s first Zero Carbon building, the National Museum of the Marine Corps in the US and the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
• Balfour Beatty is one of the UK’s leading rail infrastructure suppliers. From feasibility studies, planning and design through to implementation and asset management, we provide multi-disciplinary rail infrastructure services across the lifecycle of rail assets. Our expertise covers electrification, track, power, civils, specialist rail plant, railway systems and technologies.
• As one of the UK’s most experienced infrastructure companies Balfour Beatty has developed an in-depth understanding of the needs of the British railways and we constantly innovate to support our clients. We help to create better journeys by increasing the rail network’s capacity, improving reliability and making our railways more efficient and sustainable.
• Balfour Beatty’s current portfolio of rail projects includes the £170m Track Partnership for London Underground, the £50m project for track re-modelling of London Bridge and Crossrail projects including the £130m Abbey Wood station, the £110m Whitechapel station and the £70m station at Woolwich. Its most recent contract award was for the electrification of the Great Western Mainline route between Cardiff and Bristol Parkway for Network Rail.
• Balfour Beatty’s Rail Innovation Hub in Derby, which was visited by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling this year, has a team of the industry’s leading technical experts and engineers dedicated to research, develop and test the latest, ground-breaking technologies and working practices in the UK and overseas. These include High Speed Measurement