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Carillion set to take over Balfour Beatty’s North-west electrification contract

Carillion is set to take over Balfour Beatty’s £75m North-west electrification contract after Network Rail confirmed it was in negotiations with the contractor.

The rail operator said it was working with Carillion to explore “various options” for taking on the North-west electrification programme after Balfour Beatty pulled out of the job in July.

Carillion confirmed it was in early contractor involvement with the rail operator and had begun planning and design work prior to signing a contract.

Both organisations said no formal contracts had been exchanged so far.

If a contract is signed, Carillion would take on the remaining five phases of electrification along the route.

These include phase three from Preston to Blackpool, phase five from Manchester to Stalybridge, phase six from Windemere to Oxenholme, and phase seven from Lostock to Wigan.

Carillion would also take on phase four from Manchester to Preston, which had been started by Balfour Beatty but not completed.

Full list of electrification winners by region (February 2014):

  • Southern region: AmeyInabensa (Amey and Inabensa)
  • Central (London North-western route, South) region: ABC (Alstom, Babcock, Costain)
  • Central (East Midlands) region: CarillionPowerlines
  • Central (London North-western route, North) region: Balfour Beatty (left by “mutual consent”)
  • Scotland & North-east region: CarillionPowerlines
  • Western & Wales region: ABC


Balfour Beatty signed a £75m framework contract with Network Rail in February 2014 to design and install the electrification equipment on the Manchester-Blackpool and Manchester-Stalybridge lines.

But in July the contractor agreed by “mutual consent” with Network Rail to leave the partnership after completing the first two phases of work.

Following this decision, Network Rail said a “full transition plan had been put in place” and a new “contractor would be appointed shortly”.

Balfour Beatty agreed to help Network Rail during the transition period but would not comment on whether any compensation had been paid to either party.

A full review of delivery efficiency for the next five phases of the programme was then carried out, before Network Rail engaged in discussions with Carillion over the contract.

At the same time as Balfour Beatty won the north-western contract, CarillionPowerlines (a 70:30 joint Carillion and Austrian-based SPL Powerlines) won two other lots (see box) worth a total of £2bn.

These included those covering the Scotland & North-east region and the Midland Main Line, which was last month “unpaused” by transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.

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