The Railway Industry Association (RIA), which represents more than 240 companies in the UK rail supply community, has published its response to the Williams Rail Review.
In its response, RIA calls for:
-Ending ‘boom and bust’ in rail funding, which can save up to 30% for work on the network, and a visible enhancements pipeline;
-Ensuring the Review does not throw the industry into stasis, with a loss of work momentum and uncertainty for the supply chain;
-Moving towards more ‘intelligent’ procurement and alliance-based approaches, to promote greater industry collaboration and deliver better value; and
-Developing even more innovative technologies and processes, and increasing collaboration across the rail industry.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association said: “The Railway Industry Association and our members support the development of a rail system which delivers even more for passengers, freight and taxpayers. So we urge the Williams Rail Review to in particular focus on smoothing out ‘boom and bust’ in work flows, reducing the cost of the railway by up to 30%, and ensure there is a smooth, visible, pipeline of enhancements work for rail companies in the future.
The Review should also look at helping the sector develop even more innovative technologies and processes, and increase efficiency and collaboration in the rail industry.
“On enhancements, the next Control Period starting in April (CP6) will see a new enhancements system. Projects will now be monitored and controlled by the DfT, with individual schemes going through a ‘stage-gate’ approval process before coming to market. Whilst we understand the need for appropriate checks and balances on enhancement projects, RIA’s concern is that there are no construction-ready schemes in the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP), meaning there is likely to be a significant hiatus in these projects coming to market.
“This hiatus will prevent rail suppliers from having the visibility they need to adequately prepare for future workloads, which will lead to a reduction in investment and jobs in the industry. We therefore strongly urge Keith Williams, when considering the wider structure of the industry, to take a close look at how such schemes are delivered and to urge the Government to ensure there is a visible pipeline of enhancements in future.”
The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the voice of the UK rail supply community which help to grow a sustainable, high-performing, railway supply industry, and to export UK rail expertise and products.It promotes and represents members’ interests to policy makers, clients and other stakeholders in the UK and overseas.
RIA has 240+ companies in membership in a sector that contributes £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people—more than the workforce of Birmingham. It is also a growing industry with the number of rail journeys expected to double over the next 25 years and freight set to grow significantly too.
RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number). RIA works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry.