Rail industry responds to East West Rail and Northumberland line progress

23 January 2021

The Railway Industry Association, the voice of the UK rail supply community, has responded to the Governments announcement of progress to the East West Rail and Northumberland lines.

David Clarke, Technical Director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “It is very positive to see progress from Government on East West Rail and the Northumberland line.

“East West Rail is a scheme that not only unleashes long term economic potential in the Oxford-Cambridge corridor but will also mean a welcome boost to jobs and investment in the railway industry, benefiting not just rail businesses all over the UK but also the post pandemic recovery more widely. 
“However, whilst the line will have passive provision for electrification, and the main priority should be getting the project delivered so passengers, businesses and the wider economy reap the benefits as soon as possible, the Railway Industry Association would ultimately like to see East West Rail electrified, given – as RIA’s Electrification Cost Challenge report shows – that this is the optimal form of train traction for intensively-used lines. The Government should look closely at how electrification of the line can be delivered to ensure it meets its goal of taking all diesel-only trains off the network by 2040, and of achieving Net Zero by 2050.
“RIA and our members look forward to working with the East West Rail team to get this essential scheme up and running, but to also help rail deliver on its decarbonisation agenda in the medium to long term too.”

Notes to Editors


  1. The Department for Transport announcements can be found here
  2. RIA’s Electrification Cost Challenge Report shows how electrification schemes can be delivered at up to 50% of the cost of some past problem projects. The report can be viewed here
  3. 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. www.riagb.org.uk

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