King's Cross station

RIA’s five-point plan for the next Government

The Railway Industry Association (RIA) has put forward five suggestions for UK rail to the next Government.

In its 2024 manifesto, RIA has called on the next Government to boost rail capacity to meet future demand and to adopt a strategic long-term approach to rail investment to provide certainty for the industry.

RIA stresses the importance of railways to economic growth and productivity, providing over 700,000 jobs and contributing £43 billion to the country’s economy.

However, the National Infrastructure Commission recently argued that major cities in England, including Birmingham, Leeds and Manchester, are threatened with stunted growth as a result of insufficient rail capacity.

RIA's five points

RIA’s chief executive Darren Caplan said:  “Whoever forms the next Government needs to seize the opportunity to refresh rail for the future.

“With passenger growth approaching 100% of pre-Covid levels, and future forecasts showing passenger numbers potentially doubling to 2050, an upward and prosperous future for the railway growth is achievable with the right political ambition and commitment."

Growing rail use is also one of the quickest ways to cut carbon emissions, with rail contributing just 2% of all transport-related emissions in the UK.

Darren continued: “In the short-term, we urge incoming rail Ministers to fast track rail reform as soon as possible – to give structure and certainty to the railway industry – and to bring forward orders of low-carbon rolling stock. The next Government should also focus on top-line growth, not just bottom-line cost efficiency, if it wants to build the foundations for long-term sustainability and investment.

“The UK led the world in first developing the railways, almost 200 years ago. Politicians of all parties now need to help the UK lead again, investing today to deliver both the world-class rail network and the rolling stock we need for tomorrow.”

Research from February this year revealed that rail passenger numbers are expected to grow by 37-97% by 2050 as the UK’s population continues to increase towards 80 million, meaning many more journeys.

Image credit: iStock

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