Network Rail to launch bid race for 10-year £5bn deals
The UK’s main railway infrastructure manager, Network Rail, has announced that it is preparing for a bid race for three plain line trackwork deals spreading across Britain.
For the tender, the company has released a Prior Information Notice through the Official Journal of the European Union.
The bid race is set for May, whilst a supplier event has been scheduled for 23 April, to be located in the UK’s capital city.
The event aims to outline potential changes to be made on the framework plan, which covers a 10-year work package.
The contracts are anticipated to be worth up to £5bn (US$7bn), and cover development, design, and delivery of plain lines, as well as switches and crossings.
Network Rail intends to sign the contracts to a consortium consisting of one construction contractor and one designer.
The contract features three alliances – Alliance One covers the north of the UK, Alliance Two is set for the centre of Britain (including London North West, London North East, and East Midlands), whilst Alliance Three is designated to the south (Anglia, Southeast, Wessex, Western, and Wales).
“We are expecting high levels of interest in these contracts from the supply chain,” said Steve Featherstone, Director for Track at Network Rail.
“In return, we will be looking for clear and firm commitments from the supply chain to deliver value for Network Rail,” he added.
France to invest €1.8bn in Egypt’s infrastructure
France will invest a total of €1.8bn into Egypt’s infrastructure focusing specifically on upgrading the Cairo Metro, building a railway to Sudan, and developing water and energy schemes. Officials have called the investment a “major boost to bilateral cooperation”.
The Cairo Metro
Included in the financing is a concessional government loan of around €800mn to upgrade Line 1 of the Cairo Metro, introduced in the 1980s. The financing will pay for 55 trainsets for the line and is provided by the French engineering company, Alstom.
Line 6 is also due to be upgraded using further state-guaranteed loans worth up to €2bn. Bruno Le Maire said that this would be negotiated over the next six months. France and Egypt have worked in close cooperation ever since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president in 2014, despite differences over human rights and strong criticism of Egypt by rights activists and some foreign states.
Nine more projects over the next half a decade
A further €1bn from France’s development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), aims to cover a range of other projects over the next half a decade.
These projects include a railway line between Aswan, southern Egypt, and Wadi Halfa in Sudan, as well as several projects in the renewable energy and water purification industries. Bruno Le Maire, France’s Finance Minister, said Egypt was a “strategic partner and commercial dealings with it would be developed. France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans,” he said.
According to Le Maire, the AFD will also €150mn to support the construction of a universal health insurance programme. French contractors such as Vinci and Bouygues have a long history of working on the Egyptian capital’s underground system.
Talking about the relationship between France And Egypt, Le Maire concluded: “France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans”.