Carillion Rail has joined forces with Austrian electrically-powered transport systems specialist, SPL Powerlines Group, to create a new training facility in Doncaster.
The partnership has been formed to increase capacity and expertise ahead of Network Rail’s £2bn investment in a major electrification expansion of the UK rail network.
The agreement will strengthen Carillion’s existing capabilities in the rail sector, particularly around electrification and (OHL) projects and increase SPL Powerlines’ presence in the UK market.
Carillion is among a group of tier 1 suppliers on a framework panel bidding to help deliver the programme and through this agreement SPL Powerlines’ large team of experienced UK linemen will work alongside Carillion colleagues. The agreement creates a joint workforce of around 1,000.
Significantly, the partnership will also address the substantial skills challenges facing the sector.
It has been estimated that, by 2016, the sector will need upwards of 2,000 skilled linemen, which is 10 times the current capacity.
SPL Powerlines UK Ltd has made a significant investment in the development of a new purpose-built overhead line (OHL) training span, which replicates OHL installation and maintenance operations, at its centre on the Potteric Carr Industrial Estate in Doncaster.
This new centre increases training capacity for the sector alongside SPL Powerlines’ existing facilities in Old Dalby, Melton Mowbray and Coatbridge, Glasgow and Carillion Rail’s centres in Crewe and Bishopbriggs, Glasgow.
“This is an exciting time for Carillion Rail and we are delighted to be in partnership with SPL Powerlines.
“The scale of Network Rail’s electrification expansion is transformational.
“We have already secured early enabling work on the high profile Glasgow to Edinburgh Improvement Programme and our agreement with SPL Powerlines strengthens further our leading role in this market.
“SPL Powerlines is an established niche player for OHL work and has a track record second to none across central and Northern Europe. It is an ideal partnership for us.”
“The success of our year-round OHL training facility is also significant for us as a centre of excellence – not just for our own engineers, but for engineers from across the rail industry as a whole.
Gerhard Ehringer, CEO SPL Powerlines Group, said:
“Our Cooperation Agreement with Carillion is a significant milestone for both companies and for the electrification market within the UK.
“As a Group and in conjunction with Carillion, we are committed to investing in resources, training of new staff and new plant for the UK market, and believe the shared objectives agreed in the Cooperation Agreement will benefit not just the two companies, but the greater electrification market place.”
“We have already invested heavily in the UK with the creation of a new state of the art facility in Doncaster, for storage, fabrication and plant servicing.
“The new facility has a 30m outdoor training span and test track, which coupled with our existing training spans at Old Dalby and Coatbridge, enables the whole of the UK to be serviced effectively.”