Jason Coppel QC and Joseph Barrett in successful challenge to £500m Network Rail infrastructure tender

Cases

Jason Coppel QC and Joseph Barrett of 11KBW acted on behalf of Progress Rail Services UK Limited (“PRS”) in its successful challenge to Network Rail’s £500 million national rail (switches and crossings) infrastructure procurement.

PRS has been the principal incumbent provider of the relevant infrastructure to Network Rail for over a decade, employing more than 400 skilled workers at sites in Scotland and North of England to meet Network Rail’s requirements.

The original outcome of the procurement was a decision by Network Rail that PRS would cease to be a significant supplier going forward, with the principal contracts for future supply being awarded to global manufacturers located outside of the UK.

PRS issued proceedings under the Utilities Contracts Regulations 2016 (“the UCR”) contending that the procurement process had been conducted in a manner that was unfair, and failed to comply with Network Rail’s duties of equal treatment and transparency. In particular, PRS contended that the purported winning bids had contained technical and other non-compliances, which rendered them incapable of lawful acceptance by Network Rail.

Following a successful application for specific disclosure of the contemporaneous evaluation documents, and substantial consequential amendments to PRS’s statement of case, Network Rail has now announced that the procurement will be abandoned, the proposed new contracts will not be awarded and PRS will continue to operate as a significant supplier to Network Rail.

Relevant news coverage can be found here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-54469316

https://dailybusinessgroup.co.uk/2020/10/150-jobs-at-risk-if-network-rail-contract-lost

https://www.railengineer.co.uk/trouble-with-track/