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Investment in rail industry is transforming Derby - says Transport Select Committee Chair

17 September 2018

  • •Lilian Greenwood MP visits Derby railway station during new £200m upgrade to track and signalling - biggest rail investment in Derby for decades
  • Greenwood also visits new Balfour Beatty Rail Innovation Centre, crucial hub for new digital
    technology and innovation in rail
  • Visit was organised by the Railway Industry Association (RIA) and Rail Forum Midlands (RFM), as part of the Rail Fellowship Programme - showcasing rail industry to influential MPs

Transport Select Committee Chair Lilian Greenwood has praised Derby’s contribution to the UK’s rail sector, following visits to see the Derby Resignalling project and the Balfour Beatty Rail Innovation Centre.

Derby railway station is undergoing a £200m resignalling project, which is a major upgrade to the track and signalling system as part of the Midland Main Line Upgrade. Once completed, passengers will benefit from a more reliable and modern railway with reduced delays. Balfour Beatty’s Rail Innovation Centre brings together experts in new digital technologies which are revolutionising our railways, such as smart systems which enable the industry to better predict and prevent rail incidents.

This visit was organised by the Railway Industry Association (RIA), the national trade body and Rail Forum Midlands, the rail trade body covering the Midlands region, as part of the continued collaboration between the two organisations.

The visit was part of the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme, an exciting new campaign which showcases the work of the UK rail supply chain by allowing Parliamentarians and influencers to gain hands-on experience in the industry. As the Transport Select Committee Chair, Greenwood is a crucial member of the 2018 campaign, alongside a number of MPs who have now agreed to take part.

Lilian Greenwood MP said: “It was exciting to see all the great work that is being done in the rail industry and to meet the people on the ground who are making it happen. From manufacturing trains, to software and digital innovation, the rail sector has been at the heart of the Midlands’ economy for over a century, and I was happy to see first-hand the transformative impact investment in rail is continuing to have on the region, and the whole of the UK.

“Visiting Balfour Beatty’s new Rail Innovation Centre gave me a great insight into the crucial work being done to bring the Digital Railway to Britain and secure all the benefits that come with it. I was also pleased to tour Derby Station and see for myself the investment being delivered to provide better journeys for the four million customers who use the station every year.”

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association said: “We would like to thank Lilian Greenwood for becoming our newest RIA Rail Fellow. The work of our rail sector is vital to the UK economy and Derby is a crucial rail cluster which drives the growth of the industry. We are delighted that Lilian has completed such an important visit and welcome her to the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme, Class of 2018!”.

Elaine Clark, General Manager of Rail Forum Midlands said: “The Midlands is a vital centre for UK rail, generating £4.62bn GVA, employing 87.200 people and providing £1.4bn in tax. We were delighted to work with our colleagues in RIA to show Lilian the work rail suppliers do every day to keep the country moving”.

Peter Kirk, Managing Director – Specialist Services for Balfour Beatty said: “We are privileged to host Lilian Greenwood to our new Rail Innovation Centre and are thrilled to have received her praise and support for our work in contributing to the delivery of a digital railway.
“The Balfour Beatty Rail Innovation Centre will not only further drive the development of the digital railway but will also facilitate the creation of high value jobs and careers in the rail industry, provide increased benefits to the local economy and deliver opportunities far wider than the UK as we export our skills and services abroad.”

Rob McIntosh, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “We were delighted to welcome Lilian to Derby railway station to see the ongoing upgrade to improve track and signalling in the area.

“Work at Derby is progressing well and the majority of services have now returned to the station. We’d like to thank passengers for their continued patience whilst this vital upgrade takes place.

“This work is a huge investment into the railway in Derby and will provide a modern, reliable railway with fewer delays which will meet the needs of the communities and economies our railway serves.”

Kirsty Derry, Deputy Managing Director for East Midlands Trains, said: “Derby is a vital part of not only the rail network but also the wider rail industry. We are proud to play our part in helping to support the local rail industry as well as providing our passengers with a convenient and enjoyable journey.

“This partnership approach has been vital in recent months while we deliver the biggest investment to the railway for decades, while also helping to keep customers informed and making their journeys as smooth as possible.”

The campaign is being run by the Railway Industry Association (RIA), the representative body for UK based suppliers to the UK and world-wide railways. RIA has more than 200 member companies and 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.

The completion of today’s site visit enshrines Lilian as a member of the RIA Rail Fellowship Class of 2018. The class of 2018 in full will be recognised with awards at the annual RIA Parliamentary reception in The House of Commons on Tuesday 27 November 2018.

The rail sector is of crucial importance to the UK economy, contributing £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.
Notes to Editors 
  1. For all media enquiries please contact: [email protected] or telephone: 020 3826 7727.
  2. The RIA Rail Fellowship Programme: The RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is an exciting opportunity for UK parliamentarians and commentators to gain an insight into the valuable work of the UK rail supply chain at a RIA Member location. “Fellows” spend a day ‘on location’ with a RIA Member whose work is relevant to their role or constituency and experience opportunities reflecting the great diversity of technical disciplines within the rail sector. Candidates are gaining an invaluable understanding of a diverse workforce that together contribute £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people. The RIA Rail Fellowship Class of 2018 will be awarded at the annual RIA Parliamentary reception on Tuesday 27th November 2018. Find out more here.
  3. About the Railway Industry Association (RIA): The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the trade association for UK-based suppliers to the UK and world-wide railways. It has some 200 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 (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.
  4. About Rail Forum Midlands: Rail Forum Midlands (RFM) is the only regionally focussed rail trade organisation in the UK. Supporting the nationally and internationally important rail supply chain cluster across the Midlands RFM has over 160 members providing products and services across all aspects of the industry. RFM actively supports the national rail agenda and strategy, encouraging collaboration, promoting members’ capabilities, leading a number of regional skills initiaitves and supporting innovation and export priorities.
  5. About Balfour Beatty: Balfour Beatty ( is a leading international infrastructure group. With 28,000 employees, we provide innovative and efficient infrastructure that underpins our daily lives, supports communities and enables economic growth. We finance, develop, build and maintain complex infrastructure such as transportation, power and utility systems, social and commercial buildings. Balfour Beatty is one of the UK’s leading rail infrastructure suppliers. From feasibility studies, planning and design through to implementation and asset management, we provide multi-disciplinary rail infrastructure services across the lifecycle of rail assets. Our expertise covers electrification, track, power, civils, specialist rail plant, railway systems and technologies.
    About Derby Resignalling:
    Between 22 July and 7 October, Network Rail will be working in partnership with East Midlands Trains and CrossCountry to rebuild the track and signalling in and around Derby railway station. Between January and July this year, work took place to build a new platform at Derby, opposite the existing platform 6. This will be open and in use when the major works start on 22nd July. This new platform will include a First Class lounge, retail units and two extra wide lifts up to the bridge above. Between the 22nd July and 7th October, Network Rail teams will begin working on the new track layout for Derby. At the moment, the layout of the track means trains often wait outside the station for a platform to become available or for another train to cross a set of points. This involves:
  • Replacing 17 kilometres of track
  • Installing 79 sets of points (which allow trains to switch between different tracks)
  • Installing 55 new signals (the railway's version of traffic lights)
  • Installing nine new gantries (large overhead structures to hold signals and cables)
  • Laying 150,000 tonnes of ballast (the loose stone which the tracks sit on
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