On the right track

Metrail Construction continues to expand its offering to the market, and with strong market conditions and a full order book, the company is on track for even more success

Metrail Construction started life in 2007 and quickly became a framework partner for the highways, Network Rail and London Underground markets, delivering high quality infrastructure repair services to the road and rail sectors. This year the company is set to turn over close to £2 million and is seeing strong growth opportunities in a busy and fruitful market. At present the company holds within its service portfolio everything from concrete and tunnel lining repair to water ingression control and brickwork services. Upheld by a leading reputation for quality and a strong safety Metrail Issue 129 brecord, Metrail is also a qualified contractor for the Heli-bar structural system, and Stirling Lloyd Hytec and Eliminator waterproofing systems. Within the rail industry alone, over 200 packages of work have so far been delivered on Network Rail infrastructure, including reactive maintenance and refurbishment work and 24/7 emergency call-out.

Martyn Sherwood, MD of Metrail explains that much of the company’s success and ability to grow comes from its approach to covering these three separate sectors. “We don’t look at the individual markets any differently, in that we’re repairing infrastructure assets and find that there is a lot of continuity between the three,” he explains. “By covering them all we’re able to keep the workforce busy and use this to build the business progressively.”

It’s an approach that has resulted in annual sales growth of 15 per cent – a positive level in sectors that are prone to fluctuation. “We owe a lot of this success to the strength of our people,” Martyn continues. “We hold a lot of specialist knowledge internally and provide continual training with products and suppliers to ensure all members of the team are competent. However, we are also incredibly flexible and our multidisciplined teams are able to cross from highways work into Network Rail or London Underground work fluidly without any issues.

We have also established some excellent ongoing relationships with all our clients and understand their different needs to ensure we can consistently meet these in an honest and reliable way.”

When Martyn last spoke with Railway Strategies back in June 2015, he noted that Metrail has always succeeded in expanding its capabilities and developing its offering to the market, and a look over the company’s activities over the time since seems to confirm this. “We’ve recently opened up a brand new specialist coatings divisions to bring that expertise in-house, as we used to contract it out,” he highlights. “This means that we have been able to expand our offering even further with services that complement the existing portfolio. It also improves our ability to self-deliver.”metrail Issue 129 c

The year also saw Metrail acquire a controlling share of Nighthawk Services, a staffing agency for London Underground and Network Rail contractors. “Again this allows us to enhance our total offering to the industry as it means we can source our own people and become even more flexible to demands in the market,” Martyn says.

Today’s activity levels for the business are extremely positive. Whilst large projects occasionally arise, the vast majority of its work has been on relatively small but vital projects across all three sectors. As such, for the foreseeable future Martyn and his team are facing a full order book. It’s a favourable position upon which Metrail is keen to develop its offering even further. “We’re always looking for technical improvements and cost saving methods within the industry,” Martyn continues. “It’s about finding new ways of doing what we do best, better, so that we stay focused on our core strengths and complement these with added services. By working closely with our current suppliers and other consultancies this will be a path we continue moving down in the future.”

However, whilst part of its focus is trained steadily on future developments, Metrail’s commitment to its current offering remains steadfast and continuing to push Stirling Lloyd’s Eliminator and Hitech systems is just as key for the company’s ongoing growth. Recent years have seen significant levels of success, and Martyn hopes that within the next three to five years the business will be turning over annual sales of £5 million. With high levels of investment and activity increasing across the UK’s infrastructure over the coming years, the market for Metrail certainly looks positive. As long as it can retain its leading reputation for quality and safety, as well as growing its portfolio, the company looks set to capitalise for years to come.