The Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP) establishes the approach for rail investments across England and Wales, originally intended to be updated annually to provide a clear vision of the future for the sector for businesses integrated within the supply chain.
Today marks an unwanted milestone, as it signifies exactly three and a half years since the last publication of the RNEP on the 21st October 2019. During the time since its last release, the rail sector has seen major fluctuation in passenger numbers and generated revenue due to the pandemic related restrictions that ravaged the transport network.
As passenger numbers continue to rise, closely returning to levels akin to that of pre-pandemic, the UK rail sector now requires enhancements that can improve the overall rail capacity that can lead to a maximised efficiency, whilst improving journey times and generating key economic growth.
The Rail Industry Association’s (RIA) Chief Executive Darren Caplan said:
“It is incredibly frustrating that another milestone has been reached for non-publishing of the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline. The Government promised to update the RNEP annually, and when asked, have replied that it would be published ‘soon’.
“Yet exactly three-and-a-half years, or 1277 days, since the last update we still await the pipeline list of enhancements schemes to be circulated. This failure to publish – or make a related announcement of any sort – means real uncertainty for rail businesses, impacting investment, jobs, and skills development, plus threatening the ability of SMEs to survive. It also increases the cost of future work.
“So, RIA and our members once again call on the Government to publish the RNEP as a matter of urgency. Doing so would not only provide the clarity rail suppliers need on important rail projects and the long-term funding to pay for it, it would also mean the supply sector can get on with helping to unleash economic growth, and give a much-needed boost to UK rail’s future connectivity and capacity.”
Want to know more about the opportunities to become a key supplier to the UK rail industry? Attend TransCityRail and access an exclusive marketplace of buyers from Network Rail, HS2, Train Operators, Major Contractors, and all other tiers of the supply chain. For more information and to secure your place click here.