UK railway industry welcomes new era under Labour government’s leadership

Posted: 5 July 2024 | | No comments yet

The railway industry, led by the Railway Industry Association, is preparing for significant changes under Prime Minister Keir Starmer’s newly elected Labour government, with a focus on modernisation, sustainability and economic growth.

UK railway industry welcomes new era under Labour government's leadership

Credit: Railway Industry Association

Following the recent UK General Election, the railway industry is preparing for a period of potential transformation under the newly elected Labour government. Sir Keir Starmer has assumed the role of Prime Minister, leading to discussions about the future of the UK’s railways.

Labour’s proposed Plan for Rail includes extensive reforms and investments aimed at modernising the sector. The plan emphasises the importance of a strong rail system for economic growth, the development of a long-term strategy for rolling stock and a commitment to a low-carbon network.

Rail Industry Association

Railway Industry Association (RIA) Chief Executive Darren Caplan expressed his congratulations and outlined the industry’s expectations. Caplan said: “On behalf of the Railway Industry Association I would like to congratulate new Prime Minister Keir Starmer and the Labour Party on the General Election result. Labour’s Plan for Rail, published earlier in the year, is clear that the railways are crucial for delivering UK economic growth. Labour has pledged to bring forward a strong pipeline of work for the rail supply sector and to develop a long-term industrial strategy for rolling stock.

“RIA and our members now look forward to working with the new government to achieve its goals for rail. With passenger growth returning strongly, and as we seek a fresh start for the UK railway industry, we urge the new government to deliver on our and our members’ five main RIA Manifesto asks: to publish a long-term rail strategy; bring about railway industry reform; accelerate new train orders and low carbon network upgrades; support a sustainable supply chain; and leverage private investment.

“We wish the new government well on its ambitious transport agenda, and specifically its plans for rail, in the coming months and years.”

RIA’s support for the new government’s plans reflects the industry’s readiness to collaborate on these initiatives. As passenger numbers recover, the need for a comprehensive long-term rail strategy becomes more critical. This strategy will focus on accelerating train orders, upgrading to a low-carbon network, and ensuring a sustainable supply chain.


David Pitt, VP of UK Rail at SilverRail – a prominent provider of rail technology – said: “Given their commitment to public ownership through the introduction of Great British Railways (GBR), Labour’s victory marks a significant turning point for the rail industry. However, under this fresh vision the new government must continue to leverage the advanced technologies supplied by the private sector in helping to remove fragmentation and to make rail less complicated for passengers in this digital age.

“Not only that, but Labour must also foster a strategic retail mindset putting the passenger at the forefront of rail industry thinking. As we likely move towards a single GBR brand, removing barriers for customers in where and how they purchase GBR train tickets for all services should be a first objective. 

“The industry has been in a state of flux for some time, but with the clarity that a new government brings and an ambitious vision to match, I am optimistic that we will see the return of an efficient service that provides genuine value for passengers.”

With the new administration in place, the railway industry looks ahead to potential developments and improvements in the sector. The coming months and years will be key as the government works to implement its transport policies and enhance the UK’s rail infrastructure.