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3,000 local businesses benefit from rail work

New figures show over 3,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have benefitted from £1.3bn worth of business from Network Rail, with SMEs making up a record 75% of Network Rail’s supplier base.

In November 2019, Network Rail set out its SME action plan, making it easier for small to medium-sized organisations to do business and increasing the number of tendering opportunities. In the last financial year (2022/23), out of the 4,130 suppliers directly contracted by Network Rail, 3,107 suppliers – 75 percent – were SMEs.

Clive Berrington, Network Rail’s Group Commercial & Procurement director, said: “Small and medium-sized businesses make a big contribution to the rail network, and we remain committed to offering them opportunities to work on the railway.

“The UK rail network is the lifeblood of the country and vital to moving people and freight around. By supporting SMEs to work on the railway, we increase competition and drive down costs while also increasing efficiency, creativity, and innovation.

“We know there is more we can do to further support SMEs and during 2024, we will review and refresh our SME action plan and share it with industry.”

The Government set out a target for Network Rail to spend 33 percent of its third-party expenditure with SMEs. In the last financial year, the total spend was 34.9%, with £1.305bn directly spent with SMEs, and indirectly it was £1.665bn via Network Rail’s tier-one suppliers.

The news comes as HS2 Ltd publishes new images of the high seed railway’s longest viaduct. When complete it will span 2.1 miles across the Colne Valley on London’s north western edge.

Engineered to carry trains speeding between HS2’s London and Chiltern Hills tunnels at up to 200 miles per hour, the landmark structure will also be crowned Britain’s new longest rail bridge.

Building work on the viaduct passed the halfway point in Autumn 2023.

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