Construction Bid Process

At the end of this process the winner will have a contract to design, build, operate and maintain Merseytram Lines 1 and 2 for 25 or 30 years.

Step One
The process began when five consortia were selected from the many expressions of interest received. They were:

  • Transdev (French)
  • Serco, Nedrailways/NS and Fluor A Dutch consortium. Nedrailways took over the Merseyrail franchise in July 2003.
  • Keolis This France-based consortium includes Via GTI UK and Parsons Bronkerhoff.
  • Mitsubishi and MTR MTR operate the Hong Kong Metro.
  • Arriva and Siemens The only British consortium. Arriva lost the Merseyrail franchise in 2003.

At the end of 2003 there were some changes to the bidders: Transdev withdrew their bid, saying they didn't have the resources available to proceed, and Serco/Nedrail joined forces with Mitsubishi to submit a combined bid under the name M-tram.

Step Two
At the end of January 2004 Merseytram announced the two bidders selected to continue to the next stage. They were M-tram (Mitsubishi/Serco/Nedtrain) and Keolis/Parsons Brinckerhoff. These two organisations will now receive more detailed information from Merseytram and will then submit "best and final" bids. At this stage in the process, the goalposts were moved and bids are now required for lines 1 and 2 together.

Step Three
Late in 2004, consortium MET, formed of Balfour Beatty, Keolis and Parsons Brinckerhoff, became the winners by default, as they were the only ones to submit a bid.

Step Four
Or did they? In February 2005 Balfour Beatty, who were to be responsible for the construction of the line, were dropped after failing to come up with a price and plan to satisfy Merseytravel. An urgent search for a replacement bidder then began.

Step Five
April 2005 saw a new construction consortium called M-Pact selected as preferred bidder for the construction work. M-Pact is a partnership of construction company Laing O'Rourke and transport company Grant Rail.

The other two members of the MET consortium, Keolis, who will operate the system, and designers Parsons Brinkerhoff continue in their roles.

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