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JVs win huge TransPennine rail upgrade deals

Contractors have been chosen for up to £2.5bn of rail enhancements between York and Manchester, Construction News understands.

Network Rail is believed to have chosen joint ventures to deliver two packages of work on the TransPennine route upgrade.

A joint venture of Amey and Bam Nuttall is understood to have been named preferred bidder for the largest package, covering civils and electrification upgrades west of Leeds.

An alliance between VolkerRail, Murphy and Siemens is believed to be preferred bidder for the package of works for lines east of Leeds.

The west of Leeds contract, which is valued at between £800m and £2bn by Network Rail and could last nine years, will see the team carry out work on lines between Leeds and Manchester via Huddersfield.

Construction News understands that Arup is the designer and rail specialist Lundy Projects is also part of the team.

CN reported last summer that Amey and Bam were bidding for the contract against a Carillion team; Costain’s joint venture with Alstom and Babcock; and an alliance between Atkins, Laing O’Rourke, Murphy and VolkerRail.

The east of Leeds contract is understood to be worth up to £500m and to cover the lines between Leeds, York and Selby.

Jacobs is thought to have been chosen as the lead designer for this work.

Both packages will require a multi-disciplinary approach with design-and-build, track, signalling and communication enhancements included in the work.

The east and west rail packages are two of three construction deals to be let under the TransPennine Route upgrade scheme.

The other contract will be for the multi-million-pound redevelopment of Leeds station. 

A masterplan for that project is being drawn up by an Atkins-led consortium including Arup, Bam Construction, Gensler, Bilfinger GVA, Faithful + Gould and Albion Economics.

Public accounts committee chair Meg Hillier this month raised questions over the viability of planned rail upgrade schemes in light of problems electrifying the Great Western Main Line.

She said: “The DfT should urgently review its plans for electrification — not just on the different sections of the Great Western route, but also on the Midland Main Line and TransPennine routes.”

Network Rail declined to comment.

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