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The shadow Strategic Rail Authority was created last July to oversee the development of Britain's railways in line with the Government's integrated transport policy. Since then it has been busy studying, assessing and negotiating what is required of Britain's railways in the 21st century.

Following the publication of transport minister Lord MacDonald's 10 year transport plan this summer, the sSRA will publish its first strategy document. The document will set out the Authority's vision for Britain's railways and how everyone can work together to deliver that vision.

Civil engineers will play an important role and in this special sSRA issue, published to coincide with the Government's second National Rail Summit, NCE looks at the work of the sSRA and its consultants, and previews the likely contents of the authority's strategy document due out in the autumn.

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