Rail service improvements and disruptions


Rail Alliance and University of Birmingham announce union to ‘co-create the railway of the future’

The Rail Alliance and the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE) have announced a formal integration between the two organisations.

The combined services of the two rail organisations will “set out a powerful new approach” between industry and academia, working to directly address railway challenges, BCRRE announced.

Making the announcement in Birmingham next to the site of the HS2 Curzon Street station, the managing director of BCRRE and Rail Alliance Alex Burrows called it a “golden opportunity” for the rail industry.

The merger “creates a unique and exciting opportunity for railway suppliers and academia to co-create the railway of the future,” according to the managing director of Siemens Mobility UK, Gordon Wakeford.

He added that the team would be an “instrumental pillar” in ensuring the delivery of the recently announced Rail Sector Deal.

Members of the Rail Alliance community will be encouraged to engage directly with BCRRE specialists at its research centre on the University of Birmingham’s Edgbaston campus, building on the BCRRE’s current work foster SME’s access to international markets.

Businesses will also no longer be charged to join the Rail Alliance, the only requirement being they must have a genuine interest in growing their business in rail and supporting the UK rail industry.

The Rail Alliance said the new larger team would help provide greater access to leading research and development and innovation and offer an even greater opportunity for engagement and collaboration.

Burrows said: “This is an extremely compelling offer that brings significant opportunities to all parts of the rail supply industry.

“This is a golden opportunity for the rail industry, especially SMEs, bringing together a wide range of talents in one team that combines world-leading capabilities across a large number of research areas with real industry expertise and know-how.”

Mike Noakes, head of rail at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), commented: “Rail Alliance and BCRRE coming together like this really furthers BEIS’ Industrial Strategy agenda, helping to blend the innovative juice of the SME community with the academic and scientific rigour and mass of BCRRE and the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network.”


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