Building an empire: RSK Group expansion timeline


The rapid expansion of RSK Group continues with yet another acquisition – now its twelfth since January. 

RSK CEO Alan Ryder
RSK CEO Alan Ryder. Credit: RSK.

It just acquired railway engineering business, 1stinrail, marking the Group’s expansion into the rail infrastructure sector. 

1stinrail was founded in 2007 and delivers planned and reactive track repairs, renewals and installation services across the UK. 

It is also the engineering partner of choice of Network Rail, Transport for London (TfL), Siemens, Northern Rail, West Midland Trains, Stadler and CBRE. 

Recent projects include: 

  • track removal and reinstatement for a bridge renewal in Middlesborough for AmcoGiffen. 
  • remodelling Nexus depot track as part of an upgrade in Newcastle for VolkerFitzpatrick. 
  • refurbishment of switches and crossings as part of the Trans-Pennine Route Upgrade programme for Network Rail. 
  • Tube works between Baker Street and St John’s Wood for TfL. 

1stinrail has a team of around 400 people, and annual turnover of £22 million. 

Managing director, Stephen Jackson, will continue to lead the business. 


  • Cortus Advisory Group 

RSK CEO, Alan Ryder, said: “1stinrail makes a significant contribution to our ongoing strategy of expanding our presence and capability in the rail infrastructure sector.” 

Building an empire 

Prior to purchasing 1stinrail, RSK has been on a ravenous M&A campaign since the beginning of the year, spanning various sectors. 

In April, it acquired CX Group, a group of three specialist companies working in the energy sector.  

Prior to that, RSK acquired Calibrate Energy Engineering, a provider of commercial heating and chilling systems, near Bamburgh, Northumberland.   

Before that, RSK announced the acquisition of Hawkins Electrical, an electrical service firm based in Lincolnshire, Southern Ecological Solutions (SES), an Essex-based ecological, arboriculture and landscape design consultancy, and geotechnical specialist 4AP-Geoteknik in Hadsten, Denmark.     

In the past few months, RSK also added to its ever-growing portfolio of companies, temporary site service company WysePower, market research agency BMG Research, marine geoscience consultancy Hydrofix, tree and vegetation management firm Treefellers Ltd, mineral exploration and ground investigation contractor Irish Drilling Limited, and technical facilities management and energy solutions firm Richard Irvin FM.       

Ryder recently told the FT he wants to run the largest provider of “sustainable solutions” in the world, relying on the “cross-fertilisation of ideas and expertise”. 

In May, National Highways appointed RSK subsidiary Structural Soils to its £1.3 billion A66 Northern Trans-Pennine project, where it will act as principal contractor on what is thought to be the ‘largest ground investigation project in the UK to date’.  Ground investigation contractor Structural Soils was founded in 1964. It became part of RSK Group in 2007. 

Ryder’s company now comprises more than 175 businesses, employing 11,000 people.  

RSK’s annual turnover at the end of FY22 was £796 million. 

Enjoyed this? Try South Bank Quay: GRAHAM makes history at Teesside Freeport

Get industry news in 5 minutes!

A daily email that makes industry news enjoyable. It’s completely free.