Building the North's New Railways

A White Paper on how rail businesses can deliver even more from the North's rail investment plans.

Following the re-launch of the Northern Rail Industry Leaders (NRIL) in March 2018, the group held a series of workshops around the region to engage with suppliers and stakeholders and establish their views on the implications for the local supply chain of the regional rail investment programme.

This resulting report details the  capabilities of the North’s rail supply base before looking at what more can be achieved with the right policy environment, through collaboration with TfN, Network Rail, HS2 Ltd, the  Government and local decision makers.

The report begins with an overview of the Northern supply chain’s capabilities before looking at the key themes where the supply chain can add further value to TfN’s investment plans.

First, the report covers the future support for TfN required to deliver these benefits. It identifies the opportunities to accelerate TfN’s programme by Delivering Value through the supply chain, by giving suppliers the confidence to invest in the local people, plant and processes, which will not only reduce unit costs but create a legacy capability in the region. The report then moves onto the areas of De-carbonisation (including further electrification and new self-powered zero carbon trains) and Digitalisation, including cab signalling and traffic management, which will ensure a modern ‘fit for the future’ network. Then the report looks to identify the key enablers in People and Skills and Innovation.

Read the Report


Support for the Report


“If we are to deliver the schemes that will make the vision of our Strategic Transport Plan become a reality, including Northern Powerhouse Rail, then having a supply chain that is geared up to deliver is crucial. Working with organisations such as the Northern Rail Industry Leaders is one of the ways we can help make sure the industry is ready.”
Tim Wood, Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, Transport for the North


“The Northern Powerhouse is supported by a strong group of devolved regional bodies, groups and representative transport authorities. These organisations are supported by a strong local rail supply chain, including 40 businesses represented by Northern Rail Industry Leaders.”
Rail Sector Deal


"Rail is a vital part of delivering a Northern Powerhouse that brings economic growth, jobs and investment to the North, including Yorkshire and the Humber. As Chair of the APPRG and MP for Cleethorpes, I support the work of the Northern Rail Industry Leaders (NRIL) and their aim of delivering our rail infrastructure in a way that will have maximum benefits for the region and the wider UK – supporting jobs, skills, innovation and cost-effective delivery."
Martin Vickers MP, Chair of the APPG for Rail


“The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Rail in the North has consistently called for the railway in the North of England to see the level of investment necessary for it to really work for the people and businesses it serves and enable not just the North’s, but the nation’s, economic potential to be to fulfilled. We also need to create a sustainable industry to service our railways - that’s why we are pleased to see the Northern Rail Industry Leaders set out a clear, yet ambitious, vision for both quality services and supply chain growth, which bolsters the work of Transport for the North. We cannot, however, rely on industry alone to deliver the railway we need – the government must match the ambition shown in this report. Our railway is part of a network where franchises and freight operators cross national borders. We therefore encourage NRIL to continue to take a joined-up approach which recognises that, what happens to the railway in Scotland, Wales and other parts of England also has implications for us in the North. As a cross-party group of MPs representing every community in the North of England, we look forward to working with NRIL, Transport for the North and all groups who are committed to delivering the railway that our region deserves.”

Ian Mearns MP, Chair of the APPG for Rail in the North


“I am delighted that Siemens is one of the leading organisations for Northern Rail Industry Leaders (NRIL), a group that is uniting the rail supply chain behind delivering the best for the North of England. With a significant level of rail investment in the pipeline, it is vital that companies like Siemens work with Government, sub-national transport bodies like Transport for the North, and all stakeholders to make sure rail projects provide for local communities, are delivered innovatively and cost-effectively and leave a lasting legacy.”
Juergen Maier, UK CEO, Siemens


“As Director of a micro-SME in the North I am delighted to be on the exec of NRIL.  The work of Transport for the North will be transformational, not only in terms of connecting our metro centres, but also in terms of the vital boost it will give to our economy.  Working within the digital arena means I know just how quickly our railway and our combined capabilities are modernising.  We must though ensure that collectively we nurture our region’s emerging skills and technologies to meet the growing demands on our transportation networks. Being involved with NRIL enables me to support the aspirations of the group while simultaneously speaking on behalf of a widening, multi-disciplinary supply chain that will be vital to the delivery of NPR and more”
Lucy Prior, Business Development Director RTS Solutions


"The Railway Industry Association (RIA) and its members have been key drivers of this latest report by the Northern Rail Industry Leaders, which sets the ground work for rail businesses – including many RIA companies – to work with Transport for the North and the Government to deliver their rail strategy. As rail policy devolves, it is clear that industry must increasingly engage with the sub national transport bodies, Network Rail routes and the various local communities and stakeholders to deliver on rail. In the north, NRIL’s work on the importance of devolved decision-making and investment is a great example of what can be done, ultimately to the benefit of passengers, freight users and the taxpayer."
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive, Railway Industry Association 


“The National College for High Speed Rail is proud to be part of the North’s rail industry where companies large and small are coming together to ensure that the tremendous opportunity to develop the Northern rail network are maximised for the benefit of all stakeholders. All are better served through the value that quality education and training can bring. Whether that be customers receiving improved customer service, businesses increasing their productivity or the fantastic career opportunities afforded by improved skills. This White Paper shows how the industry as a whole is working together to contribute to significant improvements in Northern rail transport that will have longstanding economic and environmental benefits and, fundamentally, recognises that the experience of the customer is central to success. Whilst improved skills will have a positive impact in the North, they will also provide opportunities to export outside of the region, nationally and internationally – further enhancing the North’s existing reputation for rail skills and innovation.”

Martin Owen, Commercial Finance Director, National College for High Speed Rail








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