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Network Rail increases manager numbers to avoid delays

Network Rail is increasing the number of project managers on its projects in a bid to prevent delays to train services caused by engineering works.

The rail operator made the decision after a series of high-profile work overruns on its tracks, including the West Coast mainline which cost Network Rail £40 million in compensation to Virgin Trains, London Midland and freight operators last Christmas.

Network Rail director of infrastructure and investment Simon Kirby said that the rail operator was currently recruiting 50 project managers into the organisation.

“It’s about getting the right capability to support the work we’re doing,” he added. “And now we’ll be putting much more emphasis on managing our own projects, which means we’ll need the best calibre teams on board.”

One of the first jobs which will see Network Rail managing works more closely is the £550 million revamp of Birmingham New Street station, where Mace is the project partner.

The work there will be divided into smaller packages, giving greater overall control of the job.

Mr Kirby added: “We’re not looking for one major contractor to take on the work and we’re looking at a number of options of how to divide the work up at the moment.”

Work will include the construction of a new concourse which will double the size of the station. All platforms will be served by escalators too, which increase from five to 31.

There will also be three new entrances to the station from the city centre and new public square, with the entire project scheduled to complete by 2014.

Meanwhile, work on the Thameslink project in London continues, with Network Rail and Crossrail deciding on the finer details of how to manage the complex works required at Farringdon station.

A Laing O’Rourke/Costain joint venture is on site, working on platform extensions

A Network Rail spokesman said: “The next stage will be the demolition of Cardinal Tower, just south of the station, which we are doing to ready the site for Crossrail.”

Laing O’Rourke/Costain will then begin work on two new ticket halls - one serving mainly national rail services and Crossrail, the other mainly for use by London Underground.

A separate entrance and ticket hall for Crossrail will be built at Lindsay Street, with work due to start here in 2011.

Print headline: Rail managers upped to avoid delays