RIA and industry leaders urge for no delays to rail reforms

Industry leaders send open letter to Prime Minister amid concerns of GB Rail reforms legislation delays

The Railway Industry Association and over 60 rail business leaders are urging Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak not to delay bringing forward legislation on the Government’s rail reform plans.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, the RIA has warned Government that failure to legislate on the creation of Great British Railways (GBR) within the next parliamentary session will mean the rail industry will have no clear direction.

They added in the letter that the uncertainty about the future structure of the industry threatens progress on essential rail works alongside stifling jobs, investment and business growth.

RIA Chief Executive Darren Caplan said: “The Railway Industry Association and its rail supply members are simply asking Prime Minister Rishi Sunak to ensure the Government gets on with the process of expediting its own legislation.

“Getting on with rail reform will help provide the certainty rail businesses need to invest, take on staff and develop their business plans, ultimately benefiting passenger and freight customers, and resulting in better value-for-money for taxpayers.

“However, failure to enact the GBR legislation means a delay to reform of at least 18 months, and possibly longer as we await the next General Election and then fresh Bills come forward in its aftermath. There would be a heightened risk of hiatus in rail investment if decisions get delayed as rail reform stalls.

GB Rail intends to replace Network Rail with its HQ to be based in Derby. In February 2023, Transport Secretary, Mark Harper re-affirmed the Government’s commitment to the rail reforms and GB Rail. Speaking at the George Bradshaw Address, Mr Harper said: “We will establish Great British Railways, or GBR. As we prepare for that, we’ll pick up the pace of reform.

“I am pleased to announce that the winner of the GBR HQ competition will be revealed before Easter. And by the summer, we will respond to the consultation on GBR’s legislative powers.”

The letter was signed by leading figures within the industry:

Alan Robertson, Chairman, VolkerWessels UK

Allan Bell, Chief Commercial & Procurement Officer, British Steel

Andy Bell, Vice President, Thales GTS UK

Andy Joy, CEO, Story Contracting

Chris Pike, Partner, Sector Director UK Rail, Arcadis

Colin Johnson, Managing Director, D/Gauge

Colin Wood, CEO, AECOM Europe & India

Daniel Saxton, Head of Rail Western Europe, TÜV Rheinland

Darren James, CEO, Keltbray

Darren Reed, Managing Director Rail, WSP

Gary Elliott, Managing Director, Trough-Tec Systems

James Bain, COO, Worldline; Chair, Rail Supply Group

James Holmes, Rail Sector Director, Amey

Jean-Pierre Bertrand, CEO, Colas Rail UK

Jonathan Willcock, Managing Director, Skanska Infrastructure

Julie Owen, Interim CEO & CFO UKI, Siemens Mobility

Magnus Friberg, CEO, Icomera Group

Martin Hawley, Managing Director, SPL Powerlines UK

Mary Kenny, CEO, Eversholt Rail Ltd

Neil McNicholas, Managing Director, Unipart Rail

Nick Crossfield, Managing Director, Alstom UK&I

Nick Salt, CEO, Systra

Paul Goodhand, Managing Director, Knorr-Bremse Rail Systems (UK)

Paul Lester CBE, Chairman, Telent

Tim Bentley, Group Sales & Commercial Director, Wabtec UK

Will Wilson, CEO, Linbrooke Services

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