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2008-01-18 NET-001
Network Rail

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Agency staff to be cut in engineering shake-up


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Network Rail

Agency staff to be cut in engineering shake-up
_______________________________________________________________


date
18 Jan 2008
source Network Rail
type Press release



Agency staff and poor performing contractors face cuts in the wake of Network Rail's investigation into the New Year engineering over-runs at Rugby and Liverpool Street station. Announcing the initial results of its investigation the company today unveiled a package of measures aimed at preventing a repetition. Speaking at a specially arranged meeting of its Members (Network Rail's equivalent of shareholders), this afternoon, Iain Coucher, Network Rail's chief executive said: "We invested almost £125m in the railway during the Christmas holidays aimed at improving train services. Over 1,000 pieces of work were undertaken and all but three went well. That is three too many in our book. "We let passengers and freight users down and I'm determined that it won't happen again. That is why we will be taking these far-reaching and decisive measures in the weeks and months ahead." The key points of the action to be taken following the investigation into the engineering over-runs include:

Network Rail will increase its in-house capability in key specialist engineering disciplines. Specifically, overhead line (OHL) engineers
Contractors will have to reduce significantly their reliance on agency staff for the delivery of big engineering projects
Military-style command posts will be set up for all future major works, delivering clearer lines of authority
Train and freight operating companies will be invited to have greater involvement at every stage of a project
Key specialist engineering resources, such as overhead line, will be overseen nationally by Network Rail

Chairman Ian McAllister added: "Over the past five years Network Rail has built up a reputation for delivery and we must now rebuild that by working even harder. We all want to see a bigger, better railway and the actions we will take following our investigation will help future projects run more smoothly." The specially arranged meeting was arranged to enable the executive management team of Network Rail to report back to Members on internal investigations into the network disruptions as soon as possible. It also enabled members to raise questions and challenge the team face-to-face on the overruns. At its board meeting on 16 January the executive directors also reported in depth to the full board of Network Rail where there was lengthy discussion on the issues.
Notes to editors

Notes to editors: Highlights of the Christmas and New Year engineering work: - The most intensive programme of engineering work in living memory - Almost £125m of work delivered - Over 1,000 pieces of work - Of these, 35 were major schemes - 35 km of track was renewed - 77 sets of points were replaced - Over 20,000 rail engineers worked 1.2m man hours over the holiday period - Three overruns – Rugby, Liverpool Street and Shields Junction, near Glasgow Network Rail started an investigation into the causes of the New Year overruns at Rugby and London Liverpool Street station a week ago. Part of this investigation involved a series of meetings with all the relevant contractors. The investigation has looked at the root causes for the over-runs and what action should be. An investigation into the over-run at Shields Junction continues. Rugby investigation highlights: - Part of the biggest signalling renewal in six years - The work planned to be done was deliverable with the resources allocated however: - Poor productivity from overhead line workers (80% of whom were agency staff) meant the project slipped - Poor manpower supervision and management on-site added to the problems - Other big overhead line projects taking place over the holiday meant that there was not the usual pool of external manpower to draw upon - Resources were brought in from Network Rail's maintenance organisation to complete the project Liverpool Street investigation highlights: - The work planned to be done was deliverable with the resources allocated however: - Poor productivity from overhead line workers (again, 80% were agency staff) meant the project slipped - Poor manpower supervision and management on-site added to the problems - Other big overhead line projects taking place over the holiday meant that there wasn't the usual pool of extra manpower to draw upon - Outstanding pieces of work were not properly identified by the contractor and time to finish these 'snagging' items was not built into the work plan Network Rail's members: Network Rail is a company limited by guarantee; it is a private sector organisation operating as a commercial business and with a Plc-style Board of Directors. It has Members, not shareholders. The Network Rail members fulfil the role of shareholders, but do not receive dividends or have equity interest, as Network Rail is a not-for-dividend company, and any profit is re-invested in improving Britain’s rail infrastructure. Members do not receive payment for their services, but are afforded reasonable expenses for the execution of their duties. Members do not get involved in operational or management decisions, but they play a crucial role in the company’s corporate governance having statutory rights and duties.


Railhub Archive ::: 2008-01-18 NET-001





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