Editor's Comment

01.06.16

Leading the agenda in the uncertain times ahead

Source: RTM Jun/Jul 16

As RTM went to press, the result of the EU referendum had just been announced, with 52% voting to leave against 48% voting to remain, on a 72.16% turnout. 

Although the full consequences of a Brexit still remain unknown, with Article 50 unlikely to be triggered before a new prime minister is elected, there could, potentially, be a knock-on effect to the UK’s rail supply chain. 

Shortly after the EU referendum result was announced, we asked members of the supply chain for their thoughts and opinions. 

Those that replied tried to put out a reassuring message that investment would remain, but added that major rail projects would become ‘more crucial than ever’ to the UK’s global success post-Brexit. 

It felt quite timely, then, that this particular issue does just that: focuses on a range of major rail projects. For instance, we take an in-depth look at the developments of the Digital Railway programme, with contributions from the DfT’s Peter Wilkinson and Ben Dunlop from Atkins. 

We also interviewed Martin Arter, the Digital Railway development director, who says that the 25-year transformation programme is underway and plans to demonstrate its potential are gathering apace. 

A key aspect of transforming the UK’s railway is the push towards electrifying more of the network. While the DfT will probably be a little red in the face, after having to announce that the new Class 801 units for GWML will be bi-mode instead of an all-electric fleet, RTM has been assured that the new target dates for the Great Western Route Modernisation will be met. We were told that the Hendy Review, which effectively reset the GWML programme’s timetable, provided the team with “one opportunity” to get the work right. However, as you’ll read in our interview on page 44 with Andrew Haynes, there are ambitions to try and beat the revised target dates. 

As well as looking at electrification work across the country, RTM took a ride on the new Thameslink Class 700, which aims to transform the future of commuting in the capital. We also look at how major station upgrade works at Huddersfield and Glasgow Queen Street look to significantly improve the customer’s experience before they board a train. 

And although the Shaw Report was only launched in March, at the same time as the chancellor’s Budget, it feels like a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. While it is not yet known if Network Rail will create a new Northern route [Michael Holden is currently carrying out a review], as recommended by Nicola, it is likely that it will happen as the infrastructure owner has developed the new virtual freight route she proposed. We get an update on this from Network Rail’s Paul McMahon on page 84. 

All that is left for me to say is I hope you enjoy this edition of RTM.

David Stevenson

Editor

 

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

TfL and TfWM join forces in knowledge sharing deal

20/07/2018TfL and TfWM join forces in knowledge sharing deal

A landmark collaboration between two of the UK’s biggest regions has been signed to pave the way to improve rail transport between the area... more >
DfT pledges ‘tough action’ on GTR, contract breach review due this month

19/07/2018DfT pledges ‘tough action’ on GTR, contract breach review due this month

GTR could be at risk of losing control of its franchise as early as this month depending on the outcome of a “hard review” into wheth... more >
Higgins urges Grayling to make decision on Yorkshire HS2 parkway station

19/07/2018Higgins urges Grayling to make decision on Yorkshire HS2 parkway station

HS2 Ltd’s outgoing chairman, Sir David Higgins, has urged the government to make a decision on proposals to create a parkway station on the... more >
Rail fares must be simplified if HS2 is to ‘raise the bar’ as promised

19/07/2018Rail fares must be simplified if HS2 is to ‘raise the bar’ as promised

Railway fares must be simplified if HS2 is to bring a step change to the way passengers travel on the network, argued Sir David Higgins. Wri... more >

comment

Elizabeth Line: a greener approach

17/07/2018Elizabeth Line: a greener approach

Howard Smith, operations director for TfL Rail and the Elizabeth Line, outlines the key features of the brand-new, eco-friendly Old Oak Common de... more >
iRail: investing in the future

17/07/2018iRail: investing in the future

The rail industry today faces many challenges, one of those being the skills gap in high- speed rail. However, events like iRail are doing their ... more >
HS2: collaborate to innovate

17/07/2018HS2: collaborate to innovate

Dr Chris Goodier and Dr Steve Yeomans, of Loughborough University’s Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE)... more >
Hydrogen trains: bringing the success story to the UK

17/07/2018Hydrogen trains: bringing the success story to the UK

Hydrogen-powered trains are already a reality in other rail networks in Europe. Now, working alongside Eversholt Rail, Alstom UK plans to bring t... more >

editor's comment

23/01/2018Out with the old...

Despite a few disappointing policy announcements, especially for the electrification aficionados amongst us, 2017 was, like Darren Caplan writes on page 20, a year generally marked by positive news for the rail industry. We polished off the iconic Ordsall Chord (p32), hit some solid milestones on Thameslink (p40), progressed on ambitious rolling stock orders (p16), and finally started moving forward on HS2 (p14) ‒ paving the way for a New Ye... read more >

last word

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

Encouraging youngsters to be safe on the railway

This summer, Arriva Group's CrossCountry and the Scout Association joined to launch a new partnership to promote rail safety among young people. ... more > more last word articles >

interviews

Transforming travel in the north west

06/02/2018Transforming travel in the north west

RTM’s Josh Mines talks to Robin Davis, head of new trains at TransPennine Express (TPE), about the huge rolling stock change journey the co... more >
Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

23/01/2018Thameslink: Nearing the end of the line

RTM’s Josh Mines catches up with Mark Somers, project director for Thameslink, on how the final stages of the programme are progressing and... more >
Modernising journeys in north east England

09/11/2017Modernising journeys in north east England

First Hull Trains is about to embark on the biggest fleet overhaul it has delivered since being set up in 2000. Managing director Will Dunnett te... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

'the sleepers' daily blog

HS2: collaborate to innovate

17/07/2018HS2: collaborate to innovate

Dr Chris Goodier and Dr Steve Yeomans, of Loughborough University’s Centre for Innovative and Collaborative Construction Engineering (CICE)... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >