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Organisation launched to represent northern rail industry

The launch of a new organisation representing the northern rail industry has been announced.

Northern Rail Industry Leaders (NRIL) says that it will aim to deliver the skills, innovation and talent required for the north’s ambitious transport infrastructure plans.

The announcement comes following the first meeting of Transport for the North (TfN) with rail minister, Jo Johnson, after it became the UK’s first sub-national transport body.

It will represent organisations such as Alstom, Amey and Siemens.

One of the first initiatives of the organisation will be a series of workshops across the region to collate the views of rail suppliers on TfN’s rail infrastructure plans.

These workshops will provide the basis of a report to support TfN’s Strategic Outline Business Case for Northern Powerhouse Rail, which is expected to be published later this year.

The University of Huddersfield hosted the launch event with speeches from NRIL chairs Justin Moss and Mike Hulme; as well as Tim Wood, director of TfN Northern Powerhouse Rail.

Wood said: “It is great to see rail leaders from the industry supply chain coming together.

“Through projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail we are able to bring economic regions closer together and transform the way that people in the north live and work.

“Northern Powerhouse Rail has the potential to increase the population within an hour’s reach of four major Northern cities from less than 10,000 today to 1.3 million, and support an increase of £100 billion Gross Value Added to the economy by 2050.”

Mike Hulme, chair of NRIL’s West Group, explained that the organisation will help to represent the views of the rail supply chain to decision makers and influencers across the region.

Justin Moss, chair of NRIL’s East Group, added: “Over the past few years we have seen the devolution of transport powers to UK regions – through bodies like Transport for the North and the devolution of Network Rail into route businesses.

“This provides an opportunity for the supply chain to take an active role in regional transport policy, to ensure it is delivering investment, jobs and skills in local communities.”

David Clarke, technical director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said that research by the RIA has shown that rail in the Northern Powerhouse region contributes over £7bn in economic growth, employing around 132,000 people.

“Our rail network should not just be seen as a mode of transport, but also as an economic driver that can spread wealth across the UK. We hope our work supporting NRIL will help do just that in the North,” he concluded.

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