The Sleeper's Blog


TCR’s Top 10: Our picks from a brilliant event

TransCityRail North (TCR) 2017 was a day (and night) filled with lively debate, inspiring speeches and plenty of opportunities to network and meet new and familiar faces.

For those who attended the conference in the day, business cards were exchanged and suppliers large and small were given a chance to connect with some of the top rail executives working on northern transport.

In the evening, delegates were given even more chances to chat and catch up over a glass (or several) of bubbly.

There were plenty of memorable moments that we at RTM will look back on fondly for a while to come – here’s our pick of the best moments from the event.

  1. Griffiths: There doesn’t need to be competition between north and south

It was to be expected that the hot topic of the disparity between rail investment in the south and north of England would be brought up at TCR. It was also not a surprise that Paul Griffiths, HS2’s new managing director for Phase 2, urged suppliers to stop seeing rail investment as a competition between regions, and instead look to collaborate and improve the whole country’s infrastructure as one.

Paul Griffiths Transcityrail HS2

  1. Law flashes the cash to suppliers

Who would have thought that a bag full of cash would grab the interest of a room full of suppliers and rail businesses? When Network Rail’s Duncan Law brought along his swag bag (not full of real money unfortunately – we checked) he told the room that his organisation was looking for companies to help fill the bag by getting involved in infrastructure projects, drafting affordable businesses cases and making the most of funding available.


  1. Magic is in the air

Attendees of the dinner last night had a spell cast on them by TCR’s three resident magicians, who wowed the crowd with their trickery. Gary Bogan from the Rail North Partnership was left gobsmacked as his ring was thrown away before magically reappearing in a sealed envelope in his pocket. The only trick missing was wingardium leviosa – swish and flick.

  1. Full steam ahead for new Northern rolling stock

Train aficionados present at the conference were also given the extra surprise of a sneak peek look at Northern’s new CAF rolling stock during Ian Hyde’s address. The new trains will transform the region’s transport and improve services for passengers when they get on track in 2019.

  1. ‘We are barely scraping the surface of what markets we can serve’

In another brilliant address, Martin Frobisher, route managing director LNW at Network Rail, talked about the exciting future for rail and urged companies to get involved in the process of breaking into new markets. He was also amazed with the video we made detailing all the great stuff going on in the north, saying: “Wow, wasn’t that inspiring!” It was indeed, Martin.

Martin Frobsiher NR TCR

  1. Bringing out the creativity in the Northern Powerhouse

Another new feature for 2017’s event was the inclusion of our very own illustrators, who worked hard to bring the ideas being discussed at the conference to life in a colourful, creative mural. From incredible designs and innovations to the ambitions for the industry in the future, our team of artists summed up the day in a bright, brilliant and unique way.

  1. Let’s move away from the traditional view of the supply chain

Another Network Rail speaker, Andy Haynes, detailed very interesting plans for the future of the supply chain at TCR, saying that the “traditional” relationships needed to be updated for future success to be delivered. Money will be moving from larger companies and into SMEs, making now a very exciting time for companies up and down the chain.


  1. Digital railway is not the industry’s panacea

Mike Hogg of the Rail Freight Group gave a fantastic speech to delegates during the day, arguing that though digital railway would be beneficial to freight and capacity crunches as a whole, it won’t be the silver bullet for all problems. Instead, he suggested more sensible policies on speed restrictions that would allow freight to get from A to B as quickly and easily as possible.

  1. We need the right skills to deliver projects

Having just opened the National College for High Speed Rail year in September, chief executive Claire Mowbray was well placed to talk about the need to improve skills in the industry. Her argument during the evening’s discussion was warmly received: if we don’t have the right people and the right skills to deliver projects, then we don’t have anything at all!

       10. And finally… food, glorious food

We couldn’t have a list about our favourite things without mentioning the food, could we? From featherblades of beef in gorgeous gravy to crème brûlée with lemon and poppy seed biscotti, the dinner was hungrily devoured by the TCR attendees.

It was a great conference and dinner, and we hope everyone who came along enjoyed it. Make sure you don’t miss out on 2018’s event by getting in touch and booking your place now!


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