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Major rail projects ‘more crucial than ever’ to UK’s success post-Brexit

Major rail projects like HS2, Crossrail 2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, and the continued renewal of the network will be “vitally important” to the country’s ability to compete on the global stage, and has been described as “more crucial than ever” following the EU referendum result.

Following the yesterday’s referendum, which delivered a decisive victory for Brexit, with 52% voting to leave against 48% voting to remain, on a 72.16% turnout, members of the UK rail supply chain said they “remained committed” to the UK market.

A spokesperson for Alstom, which recently announced plans for a new Technology Centre and Transport Academy in Widnes, said that investment will continue.

“We hope that the UK will continue to benefit from European rail standards through remaining an active part of UNIFE,” Alstom told us. “We believe that inside or outside the European Union, projects like HS2 and the renewal of the rail network remain vitally important to the UK’s success.”

In a similar light Bombardier, which earlier this month won a contract to supply more Bombardier Class 387 trains to Great Western Railway, said “we are committed to our businesses, all our employees and our customers in the UK and we will continue to work with the government and other industry stakeholders, to create the necessary business environment to ensure our future success”.

They added that it was too early to speculate on potential outcomes/impacts of the UK now having voted to leave the European Union (EU).

“Bombardier has a strong and established presence within the UK and EU and a successful track record of supplying our products and services to customers throughout the UK and the EU,” RTM was told.

“We have a number of ongoing major UK projects, plus there are other upcoming opportunities and we are committed meeting the future needs of the UK market.”

But Patrick Flaherty, CEO of UK & Ireland at AECOM, said business inevitably now faces a period of disruption. Since the result, sterling has fallen by more than 10% to $1.33 against the dollar, and £120bn has been wiped off the FTSE 100.

“It is critical that the domestic agenda is not sidelined as the UK faces a minimum of two years of negotiations to leave the EU,” he said.

“Focus must remain on energy security and energy independence, as well as progressing the UK’s ambitious infrastructure pipeline. Schemes such as HS2, Crossrail 2 and the Northern Powerhouse programme are vital to the country’s ability to compete on a global stage, which is more crucial than ever due to this referendum result.”

Earlier this month, HS2 revealed that the nine companies in the race to win at least one of seven HS2 main civil engineering contracts worth up to £11.8bn had been invited to tender.

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John   24/06/2016 at 12:45

HS2 won't survive this and neither will be the wholesale importing of trains from Spain, Italy France and Germany. Here we go again!

John B   24/06/2016 at 21:04

These costly projects now need to be reviewed. HS2 should be paused straightaway, and Crossrail 2 should remain on the drawing board. The UK faces a prolonged period of instability and economic decline, no need for any non-essential projects.

Paul H   25/06/2016 at 09:57

Well by the tone of the two Johns comments its pretty clear which side of the divide they sat on. Unambitious, xenophobic and wanting to chuck it all in at the first breeze of any head winds. If projects like this do go down the pan it will confirm Britains new status as a Bananna republic and pariah amongst developed nations not worth investing in and zero influence in the world. How have we ended up in this position with over half the population so bloody stupid, thick and unable to see beyond the end of their nose. I despair

Tony Berkeley   25/06/2016 at 10:33

It was hardly a 'decisive victory'. With a financial crisis coming fast, the likelihood of continuing investment in our rail system is diminishing. Our rolling costs may well increase with a trade barrier between us and the rest of the EU, and will the new competitive entrant to the European market, Hitachi, not be thinking of moving their works to Italy, having just bought Ansaldo? That means job losses in an area that voted BREXIT.

Geordie   25/06/2016 at 19:21

HS2 will be toast without Osborne, but other projects will therefore benefit. Not all doom and gloom

Mikeyb   26/06/2016 at 22:37

@John. It would indeed be ideal to see all future British trains being built in UK factories but that is never going to happen, as Derby and Newton Aycliffe will never have the capacity, although Alstom may indeed re-establish an assembly line at Widnes. We live in a global market place where train building is controlled by foreign-based multinational companies and therefore, Britain will have to continue importing trains and locomotives, if we cannot build them here.

Lutz   27/06/2016 at 21:05

There will an incentive on manufacturers to increase local content, not from political pressure, but from the need to keep final product costs down; this will work to the advantage of local manufactures, though it will be only one of factors in the equations. @Paul H Nothing at all zeno. or small world ism about seeing the big projects paused, phased, and cut-back. We simple will not have the money, that that we had it in the first place.

Len Woolgar   28/06/2016 at 14:02

BREXIT reaffirms that Britain is a country, able to stand on its own two feet. Negotiating Trade deals with each country in the EU as well as outside of the EU is necessary to continue economic growth and Britain should not allow itself to be limited by what a bunch of professional EU politicians would wish it to do, serving perhaps their own narrow ambitions. BRAVO for BREXIT!!

Charles Peters   28/06/2016 at 15:46

HS2 as proposed is a total vanity project for Cameron and Osborne. Ditch it now and spend money on more sensible and affordable solutions like Greengauge or HSUK. Also more reopenings to engage the forgotten people of this country who live in rural areas but would use decent public transport if it were provided

Jb   28/06/2016 at 19:47

Well said Charles P. The money earmarked for HS2 would be far better spent on strategic re-openings like the MR and GC mainlines (to name but two) and provide more capacity and better connectivity that HS2 ever would. And yes, the Govt., should seek to re-establish the locomotive and rolling stock industry while we still have those with the experience to do so. BREXIT is a challenge - let's rise to it!

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