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27.02.18

One railway: Connecting the nation

Gordon Wakeford, industry chair of the Rail Supply Group (RSG), outlines the organisation’s work over the past few months as part of its ambition to deliver a world-leading transport network.

Back in July, the RSG and the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) announced a new partnership to better coordinate shared objectives and to strengthen further the industry’s voice.

The new partnership has ensured the development of a clearer, independent voice for the rail supply chain, offering closer alignment and collaboration between train operators, Network Rail and their supply chains.

To date, the partnership has made strong progress. The effort currently being undertaken to develop a Rail Sector Deal has demonstrated the rail industry’s ability to work together to deliver a long-term plan for the industry.

In late October, we submitted an initial proposal for a Rail Sector Deal to government for consideration. ‘One Railway: Digitally Connecting the Nation’ sets out how the rail sector, working together, has a well-defined and ambitious strategy to ensure that Britain’s rail industry is truly world-leading.

While rail was not one of four sector deals brought forward by government as part of its Industrial Strategy white paper in November, the rail sector was a constant theme, which presents significant opportunities for the industry.

The white paper recognises the essential role rail can play in boosting innovation, investing and delivering in future infrastructure and addressing the UK’s productivity problem.

This unique opportunity has allowed the RSG and RDG, in partnership with the Railway Industry Association, Rail Alliance, Rail Forum East Midlands and the wider supply chain, to highlight the rail industry’s importance to the economy as a leading driver of growth and prosperity.

The RSG and RDG will continue to work in partnership with the industry and government to develop our proposals this year.

Harnessing the future potential of the rail sector can have a transformative effect on the economy and local communities. It will build on the unprecedented improvements our customers will see over the next 18 months with capacity increases, new rolling stock and increased use of digital technologies.

ELG and the SME Council

In addition to a new partnership, the RSG has seen the development of two new work streams over the past five months: the Export Leaders Group (ELG) and the SME Council. The work being undertaken by both groups is fundamental to the future prosperity of the rail industry.

The inaugural meeting of the ELG, chaired by Amey CEO Andy Milner, was launched in July 2017 by rail minister Paul Maynard.

His attendance demonstrated the significance of the group and highlighted it as a key priority for government, which helped to reinforce the strategic priorities of the ELG.

The ELG is now challenged with working to double exports by 2025, a genuinely realistic target. The rail industry makes a significant and valuable contribution to the economy and as the government begins its Brexit negotiations, the rail sector must come together to showcase its skills, capabilities and products to develop a unique export proposition for the UK.

The UK has always been at the forefront of rail engineering and it is important that we maintain this reputation. SMEs play a pivotal role in achieving this, bringing innovation, technology and fresh thinking to the rail sector, as well as the ability to establish new and dynamic ways to strengthen the domestic market and grow exports. In recognition of this important role, the RSG established an SME Council in 2017.

The RSG SME Council is faced with the task of developing a compelling case on how SMEs can deliver unrivalled customer experience using technology, improve reliability and capacity on our railways, and provide long-term sustainable solutions to benefit the rail sector as well as the UK economy.

The RSG has made significant progress in bringing together the supply chain to better coordinate shared objectives and to further strengthen the voice of the industry. Though there are significant challenges ahead, by working together and collaborating effectively we can deliver a transformative, world-leading transport network, creating a UK transport brand that can be exported across the world.

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Tw: @RailSupplyGrp

W: www.railsupplygroup.org

Comments

Andrew Gwilt   27/02/2018 at 15:42

Did you know there used to be a train operator called "One" Railway run by National Express before it was re-branded as National Express East Anglia (NXEA). Before Abellio took over the franchise in 2012. Just to let you know RTM. :)

Andrew Gwilt   27/02/2018 at 15:44

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Express_East_Anglia

RMT   27/02/2018 at 22:57

Thank you Andrew, though sadly nothing to do with this article.

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