Bright ideas by subbies save Network Rail £40m

Grant Prior 12 years ago
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Network Rail’s initiative to ask suppliers and subcontractors to come up with money-saving ideas is on track to save £40m by 2014.

The bright ideas innovation portal was launched six months ago and more than 200 submissions have been put forward.

A proposal by Cemex is already in use and is delivering savings of 90% against the cost of sleepers being used in the Thameslink project.

Thameslink required a railway sleeper capable of housing a 53mm conductor rail as well as signalling and track cables.

The original plan was to use a full depth sleeper with baseplates – 65mm deeper than adjacent sleepers – which would be expensive and difficult to install and maintain.

The innovation portal uncovered a solution from Cemex which has seen a wider, shallower sleeper with cast-in housings produced which deliver cost savings of 90% against existing products, expected to be around £4m by 2014.

Other ideas currently being looked at include acoustic curtains, which provide simple, quick and effective noise control to reduce the impact on nearby houses during maintenance and safety fences, which clip onto the rail during maintenance and provide a safe working environment while still allowing trains to pass on nearby tracks.

Steve Yianni, Network Rail’s director of engineering, said: “There has been a fantastic response from businesses at home and abroad which we predict will help Network Rail make savings of around £38m by 2014.

“We have been impressed by the thinking and enthusiasm to help make the railway safer, more efficient and more cost effective and are keen to develop the initiative further as there is the potential to deliver even greater savings between 2014 and 2019.

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