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RIA Manifesto 2024: A fresh start for UK rail

6 June 2024 


The Railway Industry Association (RIA) today publishes its five main asks of Government, in a manifesto for the next Parliament which seeks a fresh start for UK rail.

RIA, which champions a dynamic rail supply sector, today (6 June) calls on the next Government to boost rail capacity to meet future demand, and to take a long-term and strategic approach to rail investment which leverages the best of both the private and public sectors.

RIA points out that the railways are an important catalyst and enabler of economic growth and productivity, contributing £43bn to the economy and supporting some 710,000 jobs. The network is a vital national system which connects communities to employment, education, services, and leisure.

In summary, RIA’s five asks of Government are:

  1. Publish a long-term rail strategy;
  2. Deliver on railway industry reform;
  3. Accelerate new train orders and low carbon network upgrades;
  4. Support a sustainable supply chain; and
  5. Leverage private investment.

Commenting on the manifesto, Railway Industry Association Chief Executive Darren Caplan said: “Whoever forms the next Government needs to seize the opportunity to refresh rail for the future.

“With passenger growth approaching 100% of pre-Covid levels, and future forecasts showing passenger numbers potentially doubling to 2050, an upward and prosperous future for the railway growth is achievable with the right political ambition and commitment.

“In the short-term, we urge incoming rail Ministers to fast track rail reform as soon as possible – to give structure and certainty to the railway industry – and to bring forward orders of low-carbon rolling stock. The next Government should also focus on top-line growth, not just bottom-line cost efficiency, if it wants to build the foundations for long-term sustainability and investment.

“The UK led the world in first developing the railways, almost 200 years ago. Politicians of all parties now need to help the UK lead again, investing today to deliver both the world-class rail network and the rolling stock we need for tomorrow.”

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 over 360 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).
  2. View the manifesto here.
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