Fail Rail has canned more than 260 IT suppliers after wrapping up all its tech requirements in a single framework with five hefty integrators.
Places within the agreement were handed to Accenture, BAE Systems Detica, Cognizant, CSC and TCS, allowing them to bid for contracts as they are tendered.
Network Rail operates the UK's railway infrastructure that it claims is used by
24 24,000 trains a day. It is responsible for tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, level crossings and some of the largest stations.
The value of the business up for grabs by suppliers on the framework is understood to be close to £350m, though Network Rail's PR people refused to confirm this.
"We run one of the busiest railway networks in the world and rely heavily on IT to keep everything moving," said Network Rail CIO Susan Cooklin.
Network Rail said it manages a variety of systems of "varying complexity", some of which were designed more than 40 years ago, way back in the 1970s.
The 'zero-value IT Solutions and System Integrator framework is designed to let the five incumbents "take ownership of designing, building and implementing IT" for the operator.
Specifically, they will be asked to support the planned change programmes, and supply tech for back-office functions including finance, HR and IS management.
"By creating this framework we will be able to scale more flexibly our resources to meet demand, while retaining our vital assurance role," claimed Cooklin.
Network Rail said it had dealt with more than 270 individual suppliers. ®