The UK Railway Industry Association (RIA) has warned that thousands of jobs are at risk in the UK rail industry unless new rolling stock orders are placed soon.
The RIA's report, entitled “The UK Rolling Stock Industry – making 2023 the year of opportunity not crisis”, sets out how there are currently no orders for new or upgraded rolling stock in the UK, with the current orders set to end by 2026, despite having facilities ready to deliver modern cleaner technologies.
The RIA is calling on the UK government to take action to secure new rolling stock orders and remove or upgrade c2600 vehicles by 2030. It is also asking for the government to provide financial support to train manufacturers if needed, alongside green lighting new high-speed rail projects in the country.
The RIA's report has come at a time when the UK rail industry is facing a number of challenges including its transition to Great British Railways (GBR) which the RIA has warned the lack of rolling stock orders will make the transition even more difficult.
Commenting, RIA technical director David Clarke said: “With the last mainline order being over three years ago and no visibility of new orders for upgrading or renewing rolling stock in the UK, we are once again facing the prospect of job losses and factory closures.
“These closures would have a deeply damaging impact, with jobs, passenger satisfaction, value for money and the drive to decarbonise all undermined by the upcoming trough in the ‘boom-and-bust’ funding cycle.
“This RIA report is clear that rolling stock orders are required now. These should be ‘no-regrets’ decisions for Government as they wouldn’t require upfront taxpayer investment but would result in a broad range of benefits, from retaining jobs to immediate carbon and air quality improvement and a better experience for passengers”.
The report says that this lack of orders could lead to the closure of major train factories in the UK, putting thousands of jobs at risk. It estimates that up to 30,000 jobs could be lost in the UK rail industry if no new rolling stock orders are placed in the next few years and has urged the government to act quickly.
It also highlights the aging of a majority of the fleet across the country’s network with the average age of the nation’s fleet currently 28 years and calls on rolling stock companies and the government to work with them to create a long-term rolling stock decarbonisation strategy.
Photo Credit: istock
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.