Suppliers central to delivering rail network of future according to Review

Posted: 1 May 2019 | | No comments yet

According to the Williams Rail Review, suppliers need greater visibility of upcoming work, understand how the private sector can get more involved in financing rail improvements, and consistency in workloads to provide rail of the future.

Rail suppliers central to delivering a better rail network in the future

The Williams Rail Review, led by former British Airways Chairman Keith Williams, must take greater consideration of rail businesses that build, maintain and enhance the UK rail network, according to the Railway Industry Association (RIA), the trade body for the rail supply community.

In its submission to the latest Review consultation, which closed on the 30 April 2019, RIA highlighted a number of areas that need to be considered, including:

  • Providing a 30-year rail strategy with visibility of future infrastructure work, to ensure businesses can plan, invest and hire with confidence in future activity
  • Removing ‘stop-start’ workloads in rolling stock, infrastructure and electrification projects, which can increase the cost by up to 30 per cent
  • Understanding the importance of the supply chain in improving efficiency and performance
  • Ensuring the Review does not throw the industry into stasis whilst it does its work
  • Better collaboration between the supply chain, Network Rail and Train Operators (e.g. around the track access process)
  • Attracting more private sector investment into the rail network
  • Promoting a more collaborative industry culture.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “The Williams Review is an opportunity to improve the UK rail network, taking a long-term holistic look at how it can best deliver for passengers, freight and the economy. Whilst it is clearly right to consider the best operating model for the railway, the Review should also investigate how we can optimally build, maintain and enhance our railways in the future too.

“In the recent Evidence Reports, published by the Review in February, there was only limited consideration of how the rail supply sector can support the Review’s work. Yet whatever the eventual model, this cannot be delivered without all parts of the railway – infrastructure, train operators and suppliers – working together. The RIA and its members are committed to making that happen. For suppliers to play their part, rail businesses need to see greater visibility of upcoming work, understand how the private sector can get more involved in financing rail improvements, and they need consistency in workloads, including infrastructure, rolling stock and electrification, which is the optimal solution for intensively-used rail lines.

“Delivering on this brings significant cost reductions, better efficiency, and ultimately better services for passengers and freight, the central focus of the Review. So we urge Keith Williams and the Review team to give greater priority and consideration to the key role rail suppliers will play as they seek to develop their findings.”

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