On the right track
By focusing on customer satisfaction, safety and a fast response to the most challenging of projects, CML continues to be in demand within the UK rail industry
Founded in 1986, Leeds headquartered CML began operations with a focus on the marine and civil engineering market for clients such as British Waterways, Caledonian MacBrayne and British Rail. While still in the early days of its inception, the company developed and patented a concrete filled mattress scour protection solution, which provided costeffective underwater repairs in environments that were traditionally challenging to access. Following a number of years of providing civil engineering solutions for problems in water based environments both overseas and throughout the UK, CML secured its first civils framework contract with Railtrack in 1992. “This framework contract provided our business with greater security, which in turn gave us the opportunity to increase investment in our people and equipment; having been able to invest, we were able to continue to grow as a business and deliver larger civils based projects for the rail industry,” explains Charles Mortimer, Managing Director of CML.
Since this strategic shift into the rail industry, the company has been involved in a diverse range of projects, including civils and earthworks repairs, building works and scour protection wherever the railway meets rivers or the coastline over the last two decades. “CML has been delivering works for Network Rail and its predecessors in the capacity of a principal contractor for more than 20 years and through the minor works contract on the LNE route since the early 90s,” confirms Charles.
He continues: “The range of services we offer varies from maintenance works on our minor works frameworks contracts, to the design and build of complex multi disciplinary projects; these include landslide remediation, under bridge re-constructions, depot refurbishments and platform/station improvement works. A substantial portion of work is completed using our own in-house resources, which ranges from multi-skilled site teams through to experienced project managers who work alongside clients on early contractor involvement’ projects; we also have some specialist skill sets, such as our roped access teams, boat handling and open water trained crews, drainage investigation teams and asset condition examiners.
“Furthermore, we have always owned and operated an in-house fleet of plant and equipment, particularly earthmoving equipment. We always have a large demand for versatile excavation and lifting plant, such as 360 degree excavators, as such, our fleet currently consists of more than 20 excavators; this includes six tonne mini diggers up to 30 tonne specially adapted long reach plant. Our fleet also includes plant fitted with various plant control systems that have been installed by Prolec and GKD, which provides programmable slew restriction functions as well as other features that help us to work safely with plant adjacent to the rail infrastructure.”
Due to the effectiveness and quality of solutions delivered, CML caught the attention of the industry and went on to win six Railway Heritage Awards between 2003 and 2011 for the outstanding work undertaken in the refurbishment of listed signal boxes. “Since then, we have continued to gear our business around the evolving needs of the rail industry, where we have successfully secured multiple framework contracts and tendered projects in several regions around the country,” highlights Charles. “With a healthy order book and an experienced workforce we are delivering approximately 2000 minor works projects per year as well as more than 100 larger civils projects, with larger and more complex multidisciplinary projects up to £5 million in value.”
A recent example of the company’s flexibility and capabilities under pressure can be seen in its response to an emergency on the Milner Royd cutting; with heavy rain causing a landslip that blocked the Manchester Victoria to Leeds line between Hebden Bridge and Halifax, the CML team mobilised equipment to site within hours, with specialist rope access trained teams diverted from a nearby job at Elland to assist. Working through the night to remove approximately 100 tonnes of slip material from the railway, the Down side was re-opened to traffic within 48 hours and the Up restored to line speed. With emergency work completed swiftly thanks to an excellent reactive response, the team is now working on designing and installing a permanent repair.
A trusted and multi-skilled firm, CML ensures optimum safety and quality in all areas of operation by aligning its business objectives with Network Rail’s safety mantra, as Charles notes: “We see the rail industry as leading the way in the development of improving safety behaviours in the construction industry, to not only improve safety, but project delivery performance.” Today delivering work through the minor works contracts in LNE, East Midlands and East Anglia, which includes tendered projects in LNW, Wales and the western region, the company also delivers larger projects for the Infrastructure Projects team on the LNE route, as Charles comments: “It is on this route that we have two framework contracts for the delivery of 200 earthwork projects as well as over 30 bridge projects over the course of CP5.”
With Network Rail forecasting 100 per cent growth in passenger numbers over the next 25 years, the rail industry will continue to experience significant investment over the coming years. “The forecast growth in rail services will not only demand investment in the major upgrade projects, but continued investment in maintaining and improving the existing infrastructure to handle this additional capacity. The rail industry is a very exciting place to be right now, with some major opportunities out there for suppliers. At CML we believe we are well positioned to continue providing high quality civils projects to support the forecast growth on the railway network in the years ahead,” concludes Charles.