Rail Industry publishes open letter to the Department for Transport supporting Digital Railway Plan

26 June 2019

Today, Network Rail has published its Long-Term Deployment Plan (LTDP) for Digital Railway.
The Railway Industry Association (RIA), which represents more than 280 companies in the rail supply chain, has welcomed the LTDP and published an open letter to the Department for Transport supporting it.

The Open Letter is available here
On the LTDP, David Clarke, Technical Director of the Railway Industry Association, said: “We very much welcome the Long-Term Deployment Plan for digital railway published today, which was developed in a collaboration with businesses within the rail supply chain.
“This is the start of a process to transform our rail network through digitalisation, which will help create a more reliable and effective rail system as well as unlocking capacity on certain lines. Moving forward, the rail industry will seek to work closely with Network Rail and other partners to ensure we are ready to deliver, ensuring the skills and resources are available to ‘hit the ground running’ so we can deliver this programme efficiently, to time and to budget”.
On the open letter to the Department for Transport, David added: “The open letter from the Railway Industry Association and its members shows that the Long-Term Deployment Plan has the backing of the sector. Our members are excited by the opportunity Digital Railway provides and are eager to ensure the programme of work is delivered in a way that achieves maximum benefits for passengers, freight users, and the UK economy.” 

Network Rail chief executive, Andrew Haines, said: “Two-thirds of our network’s signalling system will need replacing in the next 15 years. It’s a challenge that I believe makes now the right time for digital railway. It’s a way we can bring real benefits to passengers and freight customers through increased flexibility and faster and more frequent journeys.

“But digital railway will only happen if we are committed as an industry to deliver it in an efficient way, working together to solve issues and make the most of opportunities. This plan provides a long-term pipeline of projects, providing suppliers with greater clarity on the investment needed in resources and staff, and helping the industry as a whole to research and develop innovative ideas and broaden skill sets and capabilities, so that we are prepared to deliver the 21st century railway our passengers and freight users deserve."

Rail Minister, Andrew Jones, said: “With a record number of passengers using our railways, it is vital that we continue to modernise our network and deliver more reliable and frequent trains.

“Through the Rail Sector Deal, industry and the government are working together to transform our Victorian railway, using new technologies to improve the network’s capacity and deliver a better experience for passengers. This plan marks an important step forward, providing greater certainty to industry to help lower infrastructure costs.“


Notes to Editors

  1. Network Rail’s announcement on the Long Term Deployment Plan 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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