Rise in the construction of rail developments

The construction industry, and especially the rail sector, has received a boost in recent months, with the Construction Trade Survey recording that conditions have improved in this area.

It hasn’t been the most positive of times for the industry as a whole, with the UK continuing to see a decline in construction activity in addition to difficult trading, rising supply costs and late payments in the final quarter of last year.

Despite this, larger infrastructure firms have reported improvements for projects involving rail developments. Along with the construction of airports and schemes involving electricity sub-sectors, conditions are said to have improved in recent months with further expansion set for the rest of the year.

This rise in activity is set to be a bonus for those in the industry, who might be becoming concerned about the future of their construction jobs.

One major rail project which is set to be a major feature of the next few years is the construction of the HS2 rail line.

Original plans were set to see the line connected from London to Birmingham, but plans have now expanded to include Leeds and Manchester, with stations also proposed for Nottinghamshire and Sheffield.

The announcement of this rail project is expected to plough further money into the rail infrastructure sector, with a number of construction jobs being secured during the long term project of both phase one and phase two of the development.

Already, engineering contracts have been awarded to a number of companies for the second phase. AECOM has signed a £3.1 million deal which will see the company providing route engineering work to cover the western leg of the route from Birmingham to Manchester.

For the eastern leg, Mott MacDonald will complete £3.2 million worth of work between Birmingham and Leeds, whereas Arup will cover environmental services for both legs ub a £1.1 million deal.

“We have already created 1,200 jobs through our Professional Services Framework for Phase One of the scheme and Phase Two will create thousands more,” said Alison Munro, chief executive of HS2 Ltd.

In addition to this major scheme, a number of other rail programmes are currently under construction or are set to be completed in the next year.

One example of this is the continuing work for the Crossrail line in London, with main station works set for Bond Street station. Costain and Skanska are set to provide this work in a joint venture, involving a platform fit-out in addition to mechanical and electrical services.

“This is the seventh contract for the joint venture and follows on from the Bond Street advance civil engineering works, which we won in March 2011,” said UK executive vice president of Skanska Bill Hocking.

BAM is also poised to provide construction on the Borders Railway, in a deal worth £220 million. The company is currently looking for local trade contractors to take up supply deals.

It is hoped that throughout the duration of the build, BAM will provide a number of people in the Edinburgh, Midlothian and Scottish Borders – all areas that the new line will run through – with jobs and opportunities.

Project director at BAM Nissar Mohammed said: “There has been overwhelming demand from local firms to get involved with the Borders Railway Project, so we are pleased to be able to offer this opportunity to local businesses.

These are just a selection of railway jobs that have been recently announced or are currently in development in a number of areas in the UK. Construction and infrastructure firms that this wealth of opportunities continuing.

The sector could provide the spark for further projects in the future, and the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Scotland could lead the UK and Scottish governments to consider increasing redevelopment activity and the construction of new rail lines.