Our extensive supply chain network plays its part in helping us run a safe and efficient railway 

We’re dependent on our suppliers to help us deliver rail services across Britain – we spend over £7bn per year with our supply chain, the large majority of which are UK based companies.

Since April 2015, we’ve worked directly with over 4,000 suppliers, 2,500 of which are small to medium enterprises (SMEs). Our spend with large suppliers has also provided sustainable demand to many British SMEs through the extended supply chain.

Our supply chain is divided into Route Services (goods and services) and Infrastructure Projects (delivery of our major projects).

Supplying Infrastructure Projects

Working with you to deliver major railway upgrades Infrastructure Projects (IP) is our national infrastructure delivery arm, working to increase capacity on the network by developing, designing and delivering enhancements and large complex capital projects. IP also undertakes renewals works…

Supplying Route Services

Route Services was established in January 2016 to supply services, agreed by the routes, and to deliver these to all of our business units. Route Services supplies services that the route managing directors collectively decide are best provided from a single…

We directly employ 36,000 people – and during 2015/16 our external spend also sustained over 89,000 full time jobs in the supply chain, many of them providing access to employment, training and apprenticeship schemes for non-technical operatives.

Supporting local communities is an important part of our contract with suppliers. We not only ask suppliers to identify opportunities to recruit people from the local area and provide entry-level employment opportunities, but we also ask them to procure goods and services from SMEs and social enterprises, supporting local business and the local economy where possible.

Our approach to sustainable development

Each supplier is also invited to volunteer in their local area and support initiatives that have a direct benefit to the local community. We know of some great examples where suppliers working on our major upgrade projects have made significant contributions to the local area.

For example, while working on our Midland Mainline upgrade project, Carillion volunteers went in to local schools to promote science, technology, engineering and maths subjects and to discuss career opportunities in the rail sector. They also worked with a local primary school to provide an accessible garden for their disabled students.

We work with suppliers committed to the highest standards of ethical behaviour and safety performance. We set out our expectations in our Code of Conduct, which is cascaded through our supply chain.

In 2011, we embarked on a strategy for effective collaboration with our supply chain and stakeholders, becoming the first UK Infrastructure Client to secure the British Standard for collaboration in 2012 and in March of 2017, becoming one of the first 6 organisations globally to secure ISO44001, the international standard for collaboration.

We’re transforming, making it easier for other organisations to invest in, and build on the railway.

Although Network Rail owns and operates Britain's railway, we believe we shouldn’t be the only organisation that can invest and build on it.

In the past, we have been viewed by other organisations wishing to invest or build on the railway as a gatekeeper and difficult to work with. So we commissioned the Hansford Review to investigate how we could remove barriers and transform, and make it easier for other organisations. We are now implementing the recommendations of the Hansford Review as part of the Open for Business programme.

Part of this programme is to introduce contestability – putting railway projects out to market for other organisations to deliver. Visit our Open for Business pages for information about projects we’re seeking other organisations to invest in, finance and deliver.

Useful information for suppliers

BravoNR is our end-to-end procurement system – we use it to manage our supplier contract life cycle.

More information