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Network Rail joins Amtrak partner forum

Network Rail has joined Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) Partner Forum in order to share the company’s valuable experience of managing and developing high-density passenger rail infrastructure. Network Rail is represented in the forum by Network Rail Consulting, the company’s international consultancy arm.

Membership of the forum will enable Network Rail Consulting to share best practice internationally and collaborate on areas of interest including high speed rail development, railway operations, system integration and other objectives established by the forum for the purpose of improving the NEC, considered the rail backbone of the region.

Running from Boston to Washington, D.C. via New York City, Philadelphia and a number of other major cities, the NEC is the busiest passenger rail corridor in America, connecting eight states, serving 750,000 passengers and over 2,000 commuter, intercity, and freight trains each day. The mix of services, age of infrastructure and high levels of capacity utilisation on the NEC are similar in many ways to Britain’s busy intercity main lines. Network Rail’s experience of owning, operating, maintaining and upgrading one of the world’s most heavily-used rail networks was crucial in securing Amtrak’s invitation.

Simon Kirby, chairman of Network Rail Consulting, said: “We believe we have much to offer other railways around the world and we are eager to support Amtrak on this key initiative. We look forward to helping further develop rail in the United States, sharing the best of British engineering and ingenuity.

“The NEC Partner Forum is a good fit for our business and will allow us to share valuable experience in developing pioneering approaches in asset management and the successful delivery of large and complex capital projects. Added to that, we look after one of the most heavily used railways in the world, on largely Victorian infrastructure. Despite these challenges, our railway carries more people on more trains than ever before, with improving levels of punctuality.”

Stephen Gardner, Amtrak Vice President of NEC Infrastructure and Investment Development said: ”I am delighted that Network Rail had joined the NEC Forum, formed of respected international railway operators and infrastructure owners. I expect that they will bring valuable experience to the group and make a significant contribution as Amtrak sets out on its vision for high speed rail."

Network Rail Consulting was set up in 2012 as a subsidiary of Network Rail as part of the company’s ongoing reform agenda. The objective for Network Rail Consulting is to harness the vast range of skills and experience available within Network Rail to demonstrate British expertise overseas and be an international ambassador for Britain’s rail industry. It will also help channel innovation back into Network Rail’s core business, helping deliver a better value railway for Britain.

The geographic focus of Network Rail Consulting centres on those countries, such as the USA and India, with large, aging rail infrastructure in need of modernisation – an area in which Network Rail has vast experience.

Network Rail has grown Britain’s railways exponentially since 2002, adding over a million more train services a year, increasing passenger numbers by half a billion and doubling the number of passengers arriving on time. A report published by the European Commission last month rated Britain’s rail network as the most improved in Europe.

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