25 November 2020
The Railway Industry Association (RIA), the national trade body for the rail supply community, has responded to the Chancellor’s Spending Review.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive, Railway Industry Association, said: “It is positive to see the continued commitment by Government to transport infrastructure, with the announcement today of a new infrastructure bank, the publication of a National Infrastructure Strategy, the commitment to publish an updated infrastructure pipeline, and a £4 billion fund for local improvements. In the coming years, investing in rail will be vital and, as outlined in our recently published ’10 reasons to invest’ report, we should be confident that following the Coronavirus pandemic, passenger and freight numbers will return to the network.
“We look forward to seeing the National Infrastructure Commission’s Integrated Rail Plan on HS2, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Trans Pennine Route Upgrade and Midlands Rail Hub, and the outcomes of the Williams Review into the structure of the industry. In this time of such uncertainty, clarity and visibility from Government is essential, so publishing these plans and updates on key projects will ensure the rail industry is able to prepare and deliver, ultimately supporting the ‘Build Back Better’ agenda and the economic growth and investment the UK needs right now.
“However, the Railway Industry Association and its members will be concerned today that the Spending Review didn’t provide an update on specific rail schemes, particularly those in the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline. We have been campaigning for Government to ‘Speed Up Rail Enhancements’ as part of our SURE initiative, but we have now been waiting over a year to hear news about what enhancements projects are going to be taken forward and when. Despite supposedly around 80 schemes on this list, we are still no nearer knowing which ones are to be progressed. We urge the Government to publish its update on the RNEP as soon as possible.”