Editor's Comment

03.07.17

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

Editor

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

Comments

There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

 

rail technology magazine tv

more videos >

latest rail news

Northern to launch extended compensation scheme for regular travellers

24/09/2018Northern to launch extended compensation scheme for regular travellers

Northern has launched an extended compensation scheme to include regular travellers who don’t hold season tickets following the major disru... more >
Crossrail: Khan commissions report into governance, says he ‘cannot be sure’ of completion date

24/09/2018Crossrail: Khan commissions report into governance, says he ‘cannot be sure’ of completion date

The London mayor has failed to quell concerns about the future of the city’s Crossrail project after he claimed he ‘cannot be sure&rs... more >
Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

21/09/2018Former Aston Villa chair announced as WMCA HS2 growth delivery chair

Steve Hollis has been announced as the new chair of the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) HS2 growth delivery board. A former chairman... more >
Major northern station upgrade reaches phase two of redevelopment

21/09/2018Major northern station upgrade reaches phase two of redevelopment

Plans to improve the Doncaster Railway Station have reached phase two of the redevelopment process. Work has begun on the plans, developed b... more >

comment

Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

18/09/2018Northern Powerhouse Rail: The need for change

Northern Powerhouse Rail (NPR) will be transformational for the north – it will change the way people live, work, and play. It will rebalan... more >
Innovation through people and technology

18/09/2018Innovation through people and technology

Ian Prosser, HM chief inspector of railways and director of railway safety at the ORR, picks out the key industry challenges to focus on based on... more >
Why we all must mind the gap

18/09/2018Why we all must mind the gap

Clair Mowbray, chief executive of the National College for High Speed Rail (NCHSR), explains how we can all ensure the UK’s next generation... more >
3D printing: from virtual to real

11/09/20183D printing: from virtual to real

Like so many other technological advancements, 3D printing has moved from being the stuff of science fiction, through niche industrial applicatio... 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

Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

29/08/2018Going global: an interview with Network Rail’s Leevan Finney

RTM’s Jack Donnelly sat down with one of the leading minds behind Network Rail’s most advanced and innovative rail maintenance techno... more >
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 >

rail industry focus

View all News

'the sleepers' daily blog

The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

18/09/2018The East Coast franchise report tells us what we already knew: it was a bid set up to fail

RTM's Jack Donnelly assesses what the Transport Committee's latest report on the VTEC franchise means for the industry as a whole “Eve... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >