Network Rail is seeking a single supplier to deliver digital train control systems on the East Coast Main Line (ECML) route under a framework agreement worth up to £1.8bn.
It follows an announcement in May by the rail infrastructure operator and transport secretary Chris Grayling that committed to ensuring all new trains and signalling are digital or digital ready from 2019.
The contract notice states that it ‘reflects that commitment’ by starting to establish a framework agreement with a Train Control Partner (TCP) for the ECML, which covers services from London to Leeds, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
The single supplier framework agreement comprises two main types of call-off contracts. One will be for the outline design of the system, while the second will cover the detailed design, build, supply and installation of the system ‘together with ancillary conventional signalling as required to facilitate delivery of the digital system and long term (envisaged to be 30 years) maintenance of the system’.
The total value of the contract is estimated to be between £1bn and £1.8bn.
According to the contract notice, a TCP will be appointed under an initial four-year term that may be extended to up to eight years in annual increments while the call-off contract for design, build and maintenance will typically last approximately 30 years from system commissioning.
Network Rail envisages the first call-off contracts to be awarded under the framework agreement will be a professional services contract for an outline design for a train control system covering the southern section of the route from London King's Cross to Peterborough North and a design, build and maintain contract for a system on the Finsbury Park to Moorgate branch.
Earlier this year, the Government terminated the Virgin franchise to operate trains on the East Coast route, bringing the service back under public control under the LNER brand