Rail supply industry statement on Keith Williams’ Speech

16 July 2019

Today, Keith Williams, Independent Chair of the Rail Review, has made a speech in Bradford setting out the key areas for reform of the rail network.
David Tonkin, Chairman of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: "The Williams Rail Review has today set out its key vision for the future of our rail industry, highlighting a number of key areas for reform.

"Crucially, this vision requires a sustainable rail supply sector at its core. The supply sector is essential if we are to deliver the future rail improvements our network needs, and to do so, the industry will require a consistent and visible profile of work and long-term policy certainty over infrastructure and rolling stock investment. As Keith Williams and his Review team develop their thinking further, the Railway Industry Association urge them to consider how a sustainable and healthy supply sector can deliver even more for passengers and freight, through cost reductions, better efficiency and the use of private investment to fund future rail upgrades.
"Williams' mentioned in his speech the role of a new 'guiding mind'. We welcome this move as we believe there is a need for Government to devolve much of the day to day operation and co-ordination of the industry, and to concentrate on an outcomes-based approach. However, the new body must be set up with a clear terms of reference, responsibilities and vision to ensure that it is effective."

Notes to Editors

  1. Keith Williams' speech can be found here.
  2. 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.

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