Rail Industry: Major rail schemes have key role in economic bounceback

21 January 2021

The Railway Industry Association (RIA), the trade body for UK rail suppliers, has published its submission to Parliament’s Transport Committee for their Major Transport Infrastructure Projects inquiry.

In its submission, RIA urges the Government to plan for the long-term and provide visibility for future rail projects, and for schemes not be reopened once they have received political support. Improved certainty and pace has the potential to help unlock efficiencies and to help Government realise the full potential value of rail investment.  RIA makes the case that, with support and firm commitment from decision makers and politicians, that the rail supply chain has the capability to deliver the complex projects required to improve the UK’s rail network.

The recommendations in the submission include:

  • Develop a 30-year rail investment plan, with clear pipelines of work;
  • Restore confidence in public transport as a safe, clean and green form of transport;
  • Accelerate rail schemes, as part of the ‘build back better’ agenda;
  • Procure for zero carbon in procurement specifications;
  • Recognise the full value and potential of rail;
  • Involve and engage rail suppliers early to ensure effective delivery of projects;
  • Promote a culture of learning from major projects, including using international benchmarks;
  • Fully support proposed rail investment to ensure a skilled workforce is maintained; and
  • ‘Once committed, do not look back’, with political support maintained once a project has sign off.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “Today we have published our submission to Parliament’s Transport Committee inquiry on the delivery of major projects.

“Major rail projects are essential to increasing connectivity and capacity for passengers and freight users, reducing carbon emissions, and in supporting jobs, investment and economic growth right across the UK. At this crucial time for the economy, we should be pushing ahead with major rail schemes.
“The UK has some world-leading experience of and expertise in delivering these large-scale projects, including complex and long-running improvements to the rail system. And despite previous well-documented challenges on projects, we are confident that with the Government’s support and long-term planning, the UK rail industry has the skills and capability to deliver the necessary upgrades to our network, including flagship projects like HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Crossrail, Midlands Rail Hub, East West Rail, Trans Pennine Route Upgrade and many more.

“RIA and our members look forward to working with the Committee on the inquiry to consider how we can deliver these projects efficiently and effectively.”

Notes to Editors


  1. RIA’s submission to the Transport Committee’s Major Transport Projects inquiry 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. 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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