Rail industry hits back at media reports that Christmas works should not go ahead

27 November 2020

The Railway Industry Association (RIA), the trade body for UK rail suppliers, has hit back at recent reports that essential upgrades to the railways over Christmas should not go ahead.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “The work that rail suppliers deliver over the Christmas period is essential to ensuring our railways continue to run effectively and reliably. Despite recent reports suggesting this work is unnecessary, the vast majority of the rail network, around 95%, will be unaffected by these engineering projects, and the work that does take place is vital to keeping the network moving for the future.

“The claim that this work should have been brought forward fails to recognise that a significant amount of work has been, with over £550m of work being undertaken over the first lockdown by Network Rail and its supply chain – that’s nearly a quarter of the entire country’s capital investment activity at the time. And it can often take time to plan and get the necessary permissions to get access to railway works, meaning all opportunities to deliver these vital schemes need to be taken when they can be.

“We should all be grateful that this Christmas, whilst we are spending time with our families, railway workers across the country will be working hard, as they have done through this whole challenging year. The rail supply sector, working in particular with Network Rail, will ensure our network continues to run for the benefit of communities in all parts of the UK."

Notes to Editors


  1. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the voice of the UK rail supply community. We help to grow a sustainable, high-performing, railway supply industry, and to export UK rail expertise and products. RIA has 300+ companies in membership in a sector that contributes £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people—more than the workforce of Birmingham. It is also a vital industry for the UK’s economic recovery, supporting green investment and jobs in towns and communities across the UK. 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 (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.

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