It goes without saying that investment and innovation into the railways improves services and reliability for passengers, but it can also play a vital wider economic role too. By bringing together people, places and opportunities, regions are able to supercharge their local populations and economies.
People can access greater employment opportunities. Businesses have access to a richer talent pool. Buyers, suppliers and manufacturers are able to transport their goods more easily and sustainably. As a rail network, we can play a significant role in delivering the Government’s levelling up agenda.
Joining host Helen Fospero for a lively panel debate were:
- Phil Whittingham, Managing Director, Avanti West Coast
- Martin Sutherland, CEO, Coventry City of Culture Trust
- Hannah Richmond, Head of Clusters Policy, Confederation of British Industry
- Ed Watson, Interim Chief Executive, Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership
One of those key improvements to support this will come with the rolling stock running on the rail network, with Avanti West Coast being one of the train operating companies driving forward with this.
Phil Whittingham said: “We’ve been working very closely with the local authorities and the Department for Transport [to improve services].
“We’ve got some new trains coming that are very carbon efficient.”
As touched on by Phil, boosting rail connectivity also has positive implications for regional net-zero ambitions too, with Hannah Richmond explaining that many of the key pillars were in place to deliver on the sector potential – particularly within freight services.
She said: “The industry has the right framework to deliver net-zero. A single freight train can take 78 HGVs off the road.”
It will take a collaborative effort from all stakeholders in the rail industry, but the opportunities and benefits are there to be seen.
The full TCR Midlands 2022 panel can be viewed above. For more information on attending one of our TransCityRail events, click here.