Rail franchises operators & contracts

13.11.19

RIA launch RAIL 2050 Manifesto ahead of general election

Railway Industry Association (RIA) has launched the Rail 2050 Manifesto, informing parties in the upcoming election of what the rail industry needs to thrive and develop long term.

The report outlines the next 30 years in the rail industry and calls on any future government to provide a number of key asks for the rail industry.

RIA outlined as a necessity the development of a long-term strategy that promotes private investment, and a commitment to smoothing the ‘boom and bust’ in infrastructure and investment and visibility of upcoming enhancement upgrade projects.

In terms of actual trains, they want to see a better balance between new and upgraded train fleets and a full decarbonisation of the railway, through the use of electrification, battery, hydrogen bimode and trimode technologies.

A modernisation of signalling technology is mentioned too as digitalisation on the railway is a key priority.

Three of the eight key points are aimed at government specifically, asking them to commit to major rail projects such as HS2, TransPennine Route Upgrade, Northern Powerhouse Rail, East West Rail Midlands Rail Hub and Crossrail 2 and more.

The manifesto also calls for government to work with the rail industry to prioritise innovation and collaboration between rail organisations and consider the role of rail a key UK exporter when developing new trade agreements.

Darren Caplan, chief cxecutive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said:

“As the UK heads to the polls on 12 December, transport, and in particular, the future of rail, is one of the issues the political parties need to consider if they want to build a country with a world-class economy and best in class connectivity.

“RAIL 2050 – the Railway Industry Association’s Manifesto – has been developed with the input of our rail supplier members, to set out our vision for a long-term, sustainable, rail network that works for customers, taxpayers and the wider economy.

"Our call to the next Government, whatever its political hue, is clear: we need a strategy not just for the next electoral cycle but for the next 30 years, which ends ‘boom and bust’ in rail funding, balances the train fleet with both new and upgraded trains, and which digitalises, decarbonises and delivers the range of major projects we need to increase capacity. This strategy also needs to help promote greater innovation and collaboration in the sector, whilst developing rail as a key part of the UK’s exports and overseas trade offer.

“Whilst we look forward to seeing each of the political parties’ manifestos as they are published over the coming weeks, all of us in the railway industry need to make the case for building world-class rail at home and abroad both before and then when a new Government is finally elected in December.

"With the Williams and Oakervee Reviews reporting soon too, and Brexit continuing the uncertainty, now really is a crucial time in the development of rail policy for the years ahead.”

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