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Press Release

Local MP Bob Blackman shown London Overground trains at Alstom depot, in first Rail Fellowship Programme visit of 2022

21 February 2022

  • Harrow East MP Bob Blackman meets workers and apprentices at Alstom’s Willesden Depot
  • Willesden Depot is a crucial site for keeping London’s Overground services moving, servicing trains to Blackman’s constituency in Harrow
  • The first visit of the 2022 programme is the start of RIA’s fifth year running the programme, which has brought MPs closer to the rail industry 
Conservative MP for Harrow East, Bob Blackman, has visited Alstom’s Willesden Depot to learn about the invaluable work that goes on there for his local community, as well as to meet some of the railway workers who keep London’s transport system running.

Blackman was introduced to representatives from Alstom and RIA and was taken on a guided tour of the site. The London Overground, serving Blackman’s constituents in Harrow, is maintained on site at Willesden Junction – a significant employer of rail workers in Blackman’s region of north-west London. Blackman was able to meet a number of these workers on site and witness the work going on to keep this vital London line running.  
Will Tanner, Communications Director, UK & Ireland, said: “It was a pleasure to host Bob Blackman MP and show him the vital work we do at Willesden for London Overground. We are keen supporters of the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme, a great way of enhancing understanding of the rail sector amongst parliamentarians.”

Max Sugarman, Public Affairs & PR Director at the Railway Industry Association, said: “The Willesden Depot is a key part of London’s rail network and supports jobs and investment in the local area. We are grateful to Alstom for hosting the visit and creating such an exciting experience for Bob Blackman.

“The RIA Rail Fellowship Programme was set up with a very simple goal: to bring politicians closer to the rail industry and enhance their understanding. As we begin our fifth year, we are proud of what has been achieved and excited for the programme to keep running for many years to come.

“Welcome to the RIA Rail Fellowship, Bob Blackman!”

Bob Blackman MP said: “I had an enjoyable and informative day down on site at Alstom’s Willesden Depot, meeting workers and apprentices, and gaining a clearer understanding and experience of how the London Overground line to Harrow is being maintained.

“My thanks go to Alstom, and RIA for running their Rail Fellowship Programme, allowing MPs like me to get a valuable glimpse behind the scenes.”
Blackman’s visit marked the opening of the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme, Class of 2022. This is the programme’s fifth year, and it has grown immeasurably in that time, welcoming Cabinet Ministers, Transport Select Committee Chairs, prominent MPs, Lords, Assembly Members and local councillors onto rail sites across the country, to ensure politicians have a deeper and more personal understanding of the day-to-day goings on in the rail industry.

The rail industry is a major economic contributor to UK plc, generating £43 billion in economic growth, supporting 710,000 jobs and providing £14 billion in tax revenue. So, it is more important than ever that policy makers understand the work the rail supply sector does to support the network, getting a hands-on experience of railway work. The pipeline of interest for the programme in 2022 is already strong, and it continues to go from strength to strength.
Notes to Editors
1. Safety remains RIA’s top priority and all visits will continue to follow safety guidelines guidelines, in line with site protocols.
2. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the trade association for UK-based suppliers to the UK and world-wide railways. It has over 300 companies in membership, in a growing industry with the number of rail journeys expected to double over the next 25 years and freight set to grow significantly too. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (over 60% by number). RIA works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry. 
By taking part, Bob will become a member of the RIA Rail Fellowship, Class of 2022, and will be invited to an award ceremony in Parliament to celebrate his support for the local rail sector.
3. About Alstom: Leading societies to a low carbon future, Alstom develops and markets mobility solutions that provide the sustainable foundations for the future of transportation. Alstom’s products portfolio ranges from high-speed trains, metros, monorail, trams and e-buses to integrated systems, customised services, infrastructure, signalling and digital mobility solutions. With Bombardier Transportation joining Alstom on January 29, 2021, the new Group’s combined revenue amounted to €15.7 billion for the 12-month period ended March 31, 2021. In the UK the company now employs over 6000 people including at 12 sites in London. Headquartered in France, Alstom is now present in 70 countries and employs 75,000 people.
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