IT spending plans revealed as Network Rail begins ambitious digitalisation project across rail infrastructure

Network Rail, the infrastructure manager of most of UK’s rail network, plans to spend a massive £2 billion over the next decade on IT goods and services, Computer Business Review can reveal.

The figure were seen in a new “Supplier Qualification System” (SQS) for potential IT partners, posted today by the publicly owned infrastructure giant on Europe’s electronic tenders hub, “Ted“.

The SQS was released after Network Rail last week published an ambitious strategy to digitalise the nation’s railways – which run on a wide range of legacy infrastructure, including analogue signalling systems.

Spokesman Jack Harvey added: “Interaction with the supply chain has indicated that suppliers want better access to the Network Rail Technology supply chain and a more efficient contracting process”.

Over half of Britain’s analogue signalling systems will need to be replaced within the next 15 years, the company says, with Chief Executive Mark Carne noting in a press release last week: “Not since the railway transformed from steam to diesel in the 1960s has a technological breakthrough held such promise to vastly improve our railway.”

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