British Steel has won an extension to its supply contract with Network Rail, the company operating and maintaining Britain’s rail infrastructure.
More than half-a-million tonnes (9,000km) of high-quality rail will already have been supplied by British Steel when the companies’ current five-year contract finishes in March next year.
When that agreement concludes, a two-year extension will begin which will see British Steel supply Network Rail with over 200,000 tonnes (4,000km) of rail.
The contract was rubber-stamped in Berlin on Wednesday at InnoTrans, the international trade exhibition for transport technology.
British Steel – formed in 2016 after acquiring Tata Steel’s struggling Long Products business – employs 4,000 workers in the UK, including more than 700 people at the Teesside Beam Mill in Lackenby and Skinningrove’s Special Profiles plant.
Ron Deelen, British Steel’s chief marketing officer, said: “This is excellent news, not only for British Steel but the millions of people who use the UK’s rail network.
“During the course of the last five years we’ve worked extremely closely with Network Rail, ensuring the on-time delivery of half-a-million tonnes of high-quality rails in lengths of up to 216m.
“Together we’ve helped find solutions to the challenges they face, enabling us to develop and install new products which reduce the need for costly and time-consuming maintenance and replacement works.
“This allows more traffic with less rail maintenance – major benefits for passengers and freight operators, and provides Network Rail with excellent value for money.
“We enjoy an excellent partnership with Network Rail and over the course of the current contract, and the new one, we look forward to further strengthening that and ensuring Britain’s railways remain on the right track.”
British Steel supplies Network Rail with 95% of its rails and they’ve gone into major projects including the Borders Railway, which became the longest UK railway to be built in a century when it opened in 2015.
The development included 30 miles of new railway, the laying of 90,000 sleepers and the construction of seven rail stations.
British Steel revealed last week it was streamlining its workforce by 400, although it remains unclear where the redundancies will fall, after the firm reported first quarter profits of £21m.