PRV Engineering Reflect on Railway News – Historic and Topical

PRV Engineering, one of the UK’s leading high precision engineering machining contractors, have a long association with the country’s railway network. The Railways have been one of PRV’s blue chip clients for a number of years now. So understandably railways and railway news are topics of close interest to them.

The Daddy of Engineering
This time of year brings nostalgia flooding back. It was just last month, 153 years ago (September 1859) that the railway industry remembers the passing of one of its key figures – namely one Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Brunel was of course responsible for planning and building The Great Western Railway. The Great Western is one of the most picturesque and challenging lines in the country. However, it was but one of Brunel’s many celebrated achievements, alongside the SS Great Britain, (the world’s first steam ship), and the Clifton suspension bridge spanning the river Avon on the outskirts of Bristol. The bridge was completed after Brunel’s death. It is a testament to the man’s engineering talent that a bridge, designed in the era of the horse and cart, is able to cope with today’s much heavier traffic.

West Coast Mainline Fiasco
The Great Western Railway, now part of the West Coast Mainline, is quite a topical item right now, following the fiasco of the flawed bidding process. PRV Engineering, as suppliers to the railways, will be hopeful of an early settlement to the new bidding process yet to be launched. Whilst things are still in a state of flux, expenditure on maintenance and improvements to the line may well be put on hold. But PRV, with its hugely successful track record of expansion over the past two years, will not be short of new clients, Their phenominal success over recent years means they have many eager clients all waiting to take up any slack in their precision engineering machining output.

Virgin Breath Again
In the meantime, Richard Branson’s Virgin, (current operators of the West Coast Mainline) can breathe again. FirstGroup who won the flawed bid are understandably disappointed, but for the time being Virgin will carry on administering the line. The failed bidding process which has resulted in the suspension of 3 civil servants, will cost the government £40 million in reparations to the 4 bidders.

The Tip of the Iceberg
The problem is that this is not just about the West Coast Mainline. The fact of the matter is that it brings into doubt the actual fabric of the bidding process. Recently appointed Transport Minister Patrick McLoughlin said that the failed West Coast bidding will reflect on 15 other franchises too. They are all due for review in the near future. Small wonder then, that that PRV Engineering will be keeping a watchful eye of the situation.

The Safety of the Fare Paying Public cannot be Compromised
PRV Engineering, along with several other contractors supplying products and service to the rail industry, are working very hard to keep costs as low as possible. The price of copper, and the escalation recently reported in copper theft are not helping the cause. But quality engineering has a cost, and the most important consideration has to be the health and safety of the fare paying public. That cannot be compromised. So prices must cover costs and allow for a suitable return for future investment in state of the art plant and machinery. This will ensure that companies like PRV Engineering remain competitive, and will still be around plying their trade in the foreseeable future.

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