RIA asks UK Government to ‘Show Us the Rail Enhancements’
The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has launched a new campaign which asks the UK Government to be transparent in the amount of funding available to the rail industry over the coming years.
Following the news that the UK Government has unveiled its spending round, which sets out Departmental Budgets for 2020/2021. the Railway Industry Association (RIA), the national trade body for 290+ rail businesses, has become increasingly concerned that the Department for Transport (DfT) still has not published its list of rail enhancements, or upgrades, either for this Financial Year or the years ahead.
As a result, RIA has launched its ‘Show Us the Rail Enhancements’ (SURE)’ initiative, to call – on behalf of the rail industry – for the Government to publish its planned enhancements now.
Rail enhancements are large-scale projects delivering new infrastructure such as building a new track for additional capacity or electrifying a route.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of RIA, said: “As the Government launches its Spending Round for the coming year, and looks towards a three-year Spending Review next year, the rail industry desperately needs to know what rail enhancements are planned. We have been calling on the DfT since late 2017 to set out its plans, and they have still not done so, despite the Government’s guidance, published just a few months ago, that every Government department should be open about its commercial procurement pipelines so that suppliers can plan for forthcoming projects.”
Darren continued: “Rail suppliers clearly need visibility of upcoming rail upgrades in order to deliver effectively. Not publishing shovel-ready projects in the pipeline means investment is reduced, jobs are lower than they otherwise would be, and upgrades become more expensive as the industry takes time to gear up for individual schemes. So today – as the Government published its spending across a number of sectors – we are asking the Government to follow its own advice, as set out by the Cabinet Office’s Outsourcing Playbook, and ‘Be SURE – Show Us the Rail Enhancements’.”
The UK rail network needs enhancements to increase rail capacity, improve journey times, and generate further economic growth. The Government also has goals to decarbonise the rail network, which can only be achieved through enhancement projects.