Network Rail is inviting firms to bid for a £5bn track works framework that will run for 10 years.
Covering both the CP6 and CP7 spending programmes from 2019 to 2029, Network Rail plans to appoint three consortium outfits that will combine contractors with designers.
Projects under the framework will focus on renewal, removal and refurbishment work on tracks.
The framework’s lots have been divided into three regions comprising the North (Scotland routes), Central (the East Midlands plus the London to North-west / North-east routes) and the South (Western, Wales, Wessex, South-east and Anglia routes).
One consortium will be appointed to each region, but Network Rail has left open the possibility for the consortiums to feature a degree of crossover between adjacent regions.
The framework will be the largest to be procured during the CP6 spending period, which runs from 2019 to 2024.
Under the deal, the consortiums will have to combine design and delivery of the track works along with switches and crossing works.
Network Rail said combining the elements was a crucial part of its delivery strategy for CP6.
Director for track Steve Featherstone said: “Combining our plain line expertise with that of switches and crossings will bring huge benefits to both our route customers and the wider supply chain.
“The proven alliance model offers a flexible and cost-effective solution with a greater focus on each route’s specific requirements and needs.”
The framework is intended to run for 10 years from August 2019, but with a five-year break clause.
Prospective bidders are invited to register their interest with Network Rail before 2 July.
Invitations to tender will be sent out in the middle of August.
The CP6 funding period will be overseen by Network Rail’s new CEO Andrew Haines.
The former head of the Civil Aviation Authority will take over from current boss Mark Carne, who will leave Network Rail later this year after four years in charge.
Network Rail’s former finance and commercial director for infrastructure projects David McCloughlin told Construction News last month that the organisation needed to carry out tougher financial tests on its suppliers in the wake of Carillion’s collapse.
The failed contractor was working on Network Rail contracts worth more than £1.1bn when it went into liquidation in January.