The rail supply chain needs to suggest new ways to deliver infrastructure projects through partnerships and innovative investment methods, industry representatives have been told.
Transport secretary Chris Grayling met with supply chain leaders in Manchester to discuss their role in implementing the government’s rail strategy, which will see companies play a “crucial role” in delivering major projects and re-opening routes around the country. Private funding will be needed to deliver schemes such as East-West Rail and Heathrow Southern Railway, and the government will work closely with rail suppliers to help double railway exports and ensure major contracts will benefit communities in the UK, the Railway Industry Association (RIA) said.
In the ‘Connecting People: a strategic vision for rail’ report published last week the minister set out plans to expand the network and opportunities for the supply chain such as HS2, Crossrail, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Crossrail 2 and East-West Rail, and the re-opening of lines closed as a result of the Beeching Report in the early 1960s.
RIA chief executive Darren Caplan said: “UK rail suppliers – from large multinationals through to SMEs – are delivering huge economic value to the UK, by helping to connect communities together, investing in new technologies and innovation, creating jobs and developing skills, and exporting our expertise around the world.
“So, following the recent publication of the government’s rail strategy, it was incredibly useful for the Railway Industry Association and its members to get the Transport Secretary’s take on the DfT’s strategic vision for the railways, as well as a host of other important issues.”
“We appreciate Mr Grayling taking the time to come and talk to us and hear about rail supply opportunities, such as the willingness to put in private funding and the crucial role we play in delivering major projects including HS2, Crossrail, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Crossrail 2 and East-West Rail, and its challenges, such as reducing ‘boom and bust’ in rail funding, developing an impactful rail sector deal with government, and of course addressing Brexit’s challenges and opportunities too.”
On launching the strategy Grayling said: “We are already investing in the biggest modernisation of railways for over a century to help people travel more quickly and in greater comfort. But we need a new way of working to help our railway deal with the challenges it faces.
“We need to expand our network to unlock jobs and housing growth across the country. We’re already accelerating plans to reopen the railway line from Oxford to Cambridge. Now I want to see how we can expand other parts of the network to help make Britain fit for the future.”