Rail industry welcomes new Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps

25 July 2019

The Railway Industry Association, the national trade body for the rail supply industry, has welcomed the new Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps MP.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “On behalf of the Railway Industry Association and its members I would like to congratulate Grant Shapps on his appointment as Secretary of State for Transport.

“The new Transport Secretary leads the Department for Transport at a particularly interesting time for the rail industry. There is a record £48 billion of funding available for UK rail in the next five years, and a number of major projects in the pipeline, including Crossrail, HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, East West Rail, Crossrail 2, Transpennine Route Upgrade, London Underground Deep Tube, and Midlands Rail Hub. And, the industry is continuing to work to increase capacity, improve customer experience and decarbonise and digitalise our rail network, through initiatives like the Rail Sector Deal.

“But the industry also faces challenges ahead. At a time when the Network Rail devolution plan and Williams Rail Review will likely see a radical restructure of the railways, with the rail supply sector’s continuing concerns about ‘boom and bust’ in rail investment, affecting both infrastructure and rolling stock, and a lack of visibility of planned enhancement work, and with the Government committing to decarbonise UK rail by 2040, requiring a better approach to electrification, there are clearly plenty of rail issues for Mr Shapps to deal with in the coming months.

“On top of this, there is Brexit. As we move towards 31 October, the rail industry looks forward to working with Mr Shapps to make sure the industry is prepared for whatever the outcome of Brexit negotiations, both by addressing the challenges around standards, access to a skilled workforce, and cross border trade, and by taking advantage of the opportunities that new trading relationships can unlock with both EU nations and around the world.

“I would also like to thank outgoing Transport Secretary Chris Grayling MP, who has been a keen supporter of rail supply and was passionate about innovation in the sector and the opportunities available to export abroad. We in rail supply wish him all the best for the future.”

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. We promote and represent our members’ interests to policy makers, clients and other stakeholders in the UK and overseas. RIA has 280+ 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 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 (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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