£900m Heathrow rail link bid race delayed two years

Aaron Morby 2 years ago
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Network Rail has delayed the tender race for the £900m Western Rail Link to Heathrow until Summer 2022 because of Covid-19.

Procurement for three major packages, including a £550m twin bored 5km tunnel, had been due to get underway earlier this summer.

Now Network Rail is calling on the industry to comment on fresh plans to revise the whole procurement process with a possible shift toward an alliance deal.

“The current Covid-19 situation has adversely impacted the UK economy in general and the airline industry in particular,” said Network Rail.

“As a result, the intended procurement commencement for this project has been delayed by over two years until around Summer 2022.

“With that in mind and building on the success of the supplier engagement workshop held last year, we are taking the opportunity to review whether our strategy is still appropriate in view of current market conditions.”

It comes after Network Rail System Operator managing director Paul McMahon told a Westminster Policy Forum last week that the railway infrastructure company is stress testing its planned major works schemes for CP6 in a post-Covid world.

It will now take a look at the viability and the business cases for major projects to see whether they are still justified in a world with lower demand.

On the planned 6.5km Western Rail Link from the Langley area to Heathrow Terminal 5, Network Rail is still pressing ahead with the scheme but under a new timeframe.

Originally it planned a collaborative approach but procurement chiefs are now floating the idea of a formal alliance.

Network Rail also considering adopting Project 13 principles. This new delivery model defines value within the context of overall outcomes per whole life cost rather than lowest capital cost.

The objective is to deliver high performing and resilient infrastructure networks.

Three planned works contracts


  1. Langley Works (civils and railway systems) – value £250m
  2. Bored Tunnels (including shafts and cross passages) – value £550m
  3. Railway Systems Fit-out of the tunnels (slab track, OLE etc)  – value £150m

More information about the pre-market engagement and request for information is available here.

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