RIA Rail Fellowship Programme:Catherine West MP visits Hornsey Depot

10 November 2023

Catherine West MP last week visited her local rail depot in Hornsey to gain further insight to railway operations and investment behind the scenes. 

The visit was part of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) Rail Fellowship Programme, which helps senior stakeholder valuable better understand the rail sector and the wider rail supplier community.

The Hornsey rail maintenance depot, operated by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), is the home of Rock Rail's first UK fleet, the Class 717s. 

During the visit, the Hornsey and Wood Green MP witnessed various aspects of the depot's operations including stops at the wheel lathe/bogie drop, the signal panel, and the maintenance shed. She also rode in the cab of a Cl717 to appreciate the perspective from the front of the train.

Rock Rail, an independent developer, owner, and asset manager of rolling stock and rail infrastructure, has provided innovative funding approaches for strategically important passenger rolling stock and other rail infrastructure since its establishment in 2014. With over £3 billion of institutional investment secured since 2016, Rock Rail has played a pivotal role in transforming passenger journeys and delivering enhanced value for money to the public sector.

The RIA Rail Fellowship Programme remains instrumental to providing stakeholders and politicians like Catherine West with the knowledge, information, and insights necessary to make informed decisions about the rail sector. The visit reflects the commitment of MPs like Catherine to understand and support the vital work carried out within the rail industry.

Catherine West MP said: ‘Witnessing the collaboration between Govia Thameslink Railway and Rock Rail in replacing Britain's oldest electric rail fleet highlighted the transformative impact of strategic investments in our rail infrastructure. Rock Rail's innovative funding approaches have played a crucial role in reshaping passenger journeys and my tour of the depot offered insight into this vital work stream within the rail industry, witnessing first-hand how local residents of Hornsey and Wood Green are helping to build a more efficient, sustainable, and resilient rail network for local communities across the UK.

Matt Allen, Rock Rail Chief Investment Officer said: “We really appreciated engaging with Catherine as a key stakeholder in a local community where our rail fleet investment is supporting the local economy and creating employment and skills opportunities. We were very proud to showcase the difference that investment from institutional and public sector pension funds into the railway is making. I am also grateful to the team at the RIA for developing the programme.” 
Neal Blackman, Business Engagement Manager RIA London & South, said: “Rock Rail’s innovative approach to financing new trains has provided real benefits for passengers in Hornsey and Wood Green and communities across GTR’s network. It’s a reminder that private investment in infrastructure and rolling stock can turbocharge public funding and deliver a better railway for passengers and taxpayers”. 

Notes to Editors
  1. 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 350+ companies in membership in a sector that contributes £43 billion in economic growth and £14 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 710,000 people. It is also a vital industry for the UK’s economic recovery, supporting green investment and jobs in towns and communities across the UK; for every £1 spent in rail, £2.50 is generated in the wider economy. 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). www.riagb.org.uk 
  2. About Rock Rail: Rock Rail is an independent Rolling Stock business which develops opportunities for institutional partners to invest directly into new Rolling Stock fleets. We work with operators to manage the whole life of rolling stock, from design through to acceptance and into long-term operation and re-lease. Rock Rail specialise in risk transfer from the public to private sector, for example transferring residual value risk, new technology risk and delivery risk from municipal clients to the private financiers.
    As an asset manager it provides a complete range of specialist rail services, managing residual value and protecting the long-term interests of its institutional investors.
    Since 2016 Rock Rail has secured financing for c. £3 billion of new rolling stock fleets from Siemens, Stadler, Bombardier and Hitachi for operation on 5 UK rail franchises, (Great Northern routes, Greater Anglia, South Western Railway, East Midlands Railway and West Coast Partnership). 
    Recently emerging from Rock Rail’s successful relationship with institutional investors is its new business Rock Road where it has entered in the UK bus market in 2023 with the funding of 30 new Wright Bus Electroliners for Abellio London. For more information, please visit: http://www.rockrail.com/ 
  3. For further information on the RIA Fellowship Programme please contact [email protected].
  4. For further information on RIA London & South Region please contact [email protected].