NR told to increase competition for signalling projects

Network Rail “needs to transform its approach to procuring and delivering signalling projects”, the Office of Rail and Road has reported.

Publishing a series of recommendations on November 9, the regulator said it had found that “the current market is not competitive enough, with too few suppliers, high costs, and Network Rail not having the procurement practices in place to benefit from its considerable buyer power”.

Recommendations include:

  • Creating a new approach aimed at rewarding pro-competitive behaviour.
  • Widening the pool of suppliers and reducing Network Rail’s dependency on incumbent suppliers.
  • Ensuring NR’s procurement processes are run on genuinely competitive terms and “do not unduly favour existing suppliers or penalise ‘first movers’ in new technology”.
  • Providing suppliers with greater certainty.

ORR Chief Executive John Larkinson said that more than 40,000 signals need to be replaced within the next 15 years, and that Siemens Mobility and Alstom account for more than 90% of Network Rail’s major signalling spend.

To read the full story, see RAIL 945

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  • Güntürk Üstün - 28/11/2021 05:47

    The shift from conventional to digital signalling systems has the potential to revolutionise the way the railway operates, increasing capacity, lowering unit costs and reducing disruption. The railway signalling market in the United Kingdom has too little suppliers, high costs, and Network Rail seems to have not the procurement practices in place to benefit from its considerable buyer power. Maybe that is why the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the UK’s non-ministerial government department responsible for the economic and safety regulation of Britain's railways and the economic monitoring of National Highways, has recently set out its recommendations how Network Rail can reduce reliance on the dominant suppliers [Siemens Mobility and Alstom] and make the market more attractive to potential new suppliers by increasing suppliers’ confidence in the market and reducing costs. The ORR is asking for Network Rail to submit a strategy and plan setting out how it intends to implement the findings and suggestions within three months. Dr. Güntürk Üstün

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