Editor's Comment


Rapid progress needed

Source: RTM Jun/Jul 17

As RTM went to press, the National Infrastructure Commission outlined a list of the ‘top 12’ immediate priorities on which ministers must make rapid progress in the next year. Unsurprisingly, major rail schemes, including HS2, Crossrail 2 and HS3, featured highly in the projects that needed speedy development. 

Lord Adonis stated that all of these have been agreed in principle, “but require decisive action to get them moving in the new Parliament. They ought to be at the top of ministers’ in-trays, and they ought not to linger there a day more than necessary”. 

It was unfortunate, then, that the only project to have been mentioned in the recent Queen’s Speech was that a new bill will be introduced to deliver the next phase of HS2. This is despite the government saying that it “will bring forward proposals to ensure that critical national infrastructure is protected to safeguard national security”. 

As Darren Caplan, CEO of the Railway Industry Association, noted, it was welcome news to hear the commitment to transport infrastructure, but concerns remain about the lack of commitment to Crossrail 2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail. He added that the green light must be given quickly to progress these schemes. 

I’m sure that within the coming weeks and months, we will have a clearer direction of travel for the government in the new Parliament. There were, for example, a few fast and furious announcements made shortly after purdah restrictions were lifted, including the shortlists for the South Eastern and West Coast Partnership franchises (more on page 4) and the news that First MTR had signed a £895m deal with Bombardier for new Aventra trains to run on the South Western network (more on page 6).

Collaboration and innovation are key themes running throughout this edition, with contributors providing RTM with an update on the development of the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (page 66), Network Rail explaining how it intends to change its relationship with whoever wins the new Wales & Borders franchise (page 74) and Imperial College London discussing its investigation into the use of solar energy to power the rail network (page 60).

One of my favourite articles is about the 2017 instalment of the Big Rail Diversity Challenge (page 26), where RTM finished in a respectable fifth place. Our reporter, Josh Mines, gives a fantastic account of what happened throughout the day, which included everything from herding ducks to blindfolded Land Rover racing. Once again, the event achieved its aim by proving that gender-balanced teams really do work better together. I can’t wait for next year’s event.

I hope you enjoy this jam-packed edition of RTM.

David Stevenson


Front cover image © Paul Hudson: www.flickr.com/photos/pahudson


There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment


rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Workers who narrowly avoided death had no one in charge and ‘ineffective’ safety arrangements

18/12/2018Workers who narrowly avoided death had no one in charge and ‘ineffective’ safety arrangements

“Ineffective” safety arrangements and a number of unofficial working practices contributed to a group of track workers narrowly avoid... more >
Structural steelwork begins on Glasgow Queen Street transformation

18/12/2018Structural steelwork begins on Glasgow Queen Street transformation

The transformation of Glasgow Queen Street has been revealed as engineers have finished the installation of the west truss and have begun buildin... more >
Rival operators to run on same rail routes in bid to drive up competition

18/12/2018Rival operators to run on same rail routes in bid to drive up competition

Passengers will have the choice of choosing which train operators they travel with under new plans to allow rival TOCs to operate on the same rou... more >
Siemens and Alstom offer to sell high-speed train technology to address EU antitrust concerns

18/12/2018Siemens and Alstom offer to sell high-speed train technology to address EU antitrust concerns

Engineering giants Siemens and Alstom have offered to sell their high-speed train technology as part of a concession package to address EU antitr... more >


Passenger safety: Respect the edge

27/11/2018Passenger safety: Respect the edge

Claire Coward, communications lead at the RSSB, discusses her organisation’s latest passenger safety campaign. Incidents at the platfo... more >
Night Tube: The twilight economy

27/11/2018Night Tube: The twilight economy

Dr David Lutton, executive director of economy and tax at London First, argues that the capital’s night-time economy is just starting its j... more >
Monitoring the performance of earthworks

27/11/2018Monitoring the performance of earthworks

Dr Joel Smethurst, associate professor in geotechnical engineering, and Professor William Powrie, professor of geotechnical engineering, both of ... more >
Introducing iPort

20/11/2018Introducing iPort

Steve Freeman, managing director of iPort Rail, introduces the UK’s newest inland freight terminal. The UK’s newest inland rail ... 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 >


HS2 train race: making the case

20/11/2018HS2 train race: making the case

Bombardier and Hitachi’s commitment to providing the best HS2 rolling stock pitch to the government was signified with the launch of their ... more >
Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

09/11/2018Finding positives in negative short-circuiting devices

Sponsored interview  Anything that brings about safety and time-saving benefits is a valued improvement for the rail industry, which is w... more >
Taking to the skies

30/10/2018Taking to the skies

Network Rail’s commitment to driving innovation is best encapsulated by its latest scheme involving high-definition imagery drones, or UAVs... more >

rail industry focus

View all News

'the sleepers' daily blog

Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

27/11/2018Spotlight on Coventry Very Light Rail

Olivia Brown, business development officer at Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), an academic department of the University of Warwick, outlines th... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >