The Railway Industry Association and ITN Productions Industry News launch new programme highlighting innovation across the rail industry

9 November 2020

The Railway Industry Association (RIA) and ITN Productions Industry News have launched a bespoke industry programme to raise awareness and showcase innovation in the rail industry. The programme, part one of which launched at RIA’s Annual Conference, highlights key areas where UK rail can develop a competitive advantage through innovation in Materials, Automation, Data and Energy (MADE).

The rail industry is a pioneer in new products and technologies, but more needs to be done to boost the sector’s image and build up its conviction as a hub for innovation.  ‘Unlocking Innovation: M.A.D.E. with Rail’ unlocks, showcases and promotes new ideas within the rail supply sector.

Anchored by ITN Productions Industry News presenter Natasha Kaplinsky, the bespoke programme features RIA executives and industry leaders and focuses on the essential themes which will allow UK rail to develop a competitive edge in innovation, by developing new supply chains that will build and benefit the UK economy, rail suppliers and ultimately, the customers who use the UK train network. 

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, joins Natasha to discuss what the key areas, Materials, Automation, Data and Energy mean to the industry, from how the sector has coped with the decline in rail travel due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the Government’s plans for recovery, to what the industry is doing in the areas of decarbonisation and digitalisation. 

ITN Productions Industry News reporter Nick Thatcher leads a report on the role of digitalisation and its huge increase in the rail sector. Voestalpine Railway Systems are the global market leader in both manufacturing and monitoring their products, creating intelligent points machines and turnouts that provide real benefits for rail networks. 

The programme will also explore the importance of running efficient global rail networks. ITN Productions Industry News Carolyn Sims presents a feature on Unipart Rail and their work with SMEs to increase innovation flows to the rail industry. Alongside their leading technology company Instrumentel, Unipart Rail use their expertise to collect data and turn it into actionable information as well as improving costs.   

‘Unlocking Innovation: M.A.D.E. with Rail’ Part 1 premiered with a special showcase during RIA’s virtual Annual Conference on 4 November 2020, with the programme concluding with Part 2, shown during RIA’s Innovation Conference in March 2021.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said: “It is good to be working once again with ITN Productions Industry News for our third industry programme, this time celebrating the ingenuity, creativity and innovation that our railway industry contains. This year has been a difficult one for rail companies and rail suppliers have worked hard to keep the rail network moving during the Coronavirus pandemic. It is vital that UK rail continues to highlight the great work it is doing in the innovation space, developing new services and products in the areas of Materials, Automation, Data and Energy. We hope this programme shines a light on this great work.” 

Elizabeth Fisher-Robins, Head of ITN Productions Industry News said: “We’re delighted to be partnering once again with the Railway Industry Association (RIA) to produce a programme which highlights the innovation across the sector and the companies driving the sector forward, ensuring a competitive advantage across the industry.”

The progamme features key industry interviews and news-style reports along with sponsored editorial profiles from the following leading organisations: 

Unipart Rail
‘Unlocking Innovation: M.A.D.E. with Rail’ can be viewed here
Notes to Editors


  1. About ITN Productions Industry News: ITN Productions produces bespoke creative and commercial content for broadcasters, businesses, brands, rights holders and digital channels. Industry News forms part of this offering and is a communications tool for leading industry bodies and national associations produced in a broadcast news-style programme format, including interviews, news items and sponsored editorial profiles. For more information visit:
  2. About the Railway Industry Association: 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.

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