Midlands Engine


Siemens’ Rob Morris on the Rail Sector deal and Digital Railway

Rob Morris, Managing Director at Siemens Rail Automation and Digital Railway Industry Champion for the Rail Supply Group Rail Sector Deal joins us to discuss how Digital Railway is developing a ‘transformative’ Rail Sector Deal ahead of TransCityRail Midlands 2019.

What does your role as Managing Director for Siemens Rail Automation and Digital Railway Industry Champion for the Rail Supply Group Rail Sector Deal involve?

As Managing Director of Rail Automation I have the enviable role of leading a UK-based company comprising the industry’s highest skilled people serving the UK rail industry. No other signalling and train control company has the ability and facilities to undertake R&D, manufacturing, systems design, construction, test, commission, maintenance, and obsolescence management here in the UK for the UK. Leading a company with such a thorough understanding of the UK infrastructure puts me in a great place to be Industry Champion. As I see it, the key role is to harness the advocacy of the industry in achieving significant cost reduction through digital transformation. This includes understanding the asset renewal programme, evaluating the delivery strategy and roadmap and, through whole industry and government co-operation, applying the necessary levers to achieve cost reduction.

How is Digital Railway playing a part in developing a ‘transformative’ Rail Sector Deal?

Investment in the railways has increased significantly over recent years. However, an ageing infrastructure suffering from relative lack of investment decades ago means that there is a bow wave of renewals ahead of us. The industry doesn’t have sufficient capacity to take this head on, nor is there sufficient funding. Digital Railway coupled with a more sustainable funding approach gives us the opportunity to address this through visibility of pipeline, cost reduction through volume, greater efficiency by reducing track access, and unlocking resources. The Thameslink ETCS project with ATO has proven the many benefits attributable to Digital Railway, including significantly improved operational capacity, reliability and availability. Digital technologies play a large role in enhancing passenger experience and, in addition to experiencing more reliable journeys with more seats, passengers will have more choice around how they plan their journeys, from smart ticketing to informed movement around stations.

Why do you think it’s important for leaders from across the region to come together at TCR Midlands

Key to achieving the goals set by the Sector Deal and our wider industry aspirations is by communicating, collaboration and advocacy. TCR Midlands provides a unique opportunity to bring industry leaders together to do just that.

Why have you got involved with TCR Midlands?

We are committed to ongoing investment in the West Midlands and keen to be involved in discussions around shaping the future of rail in general, as well as shaping future journeys in the region.

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