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Role of rail businesses should be considered in Williams Rail Review

Role of rail businesses should be considered in Williams Rail Review

Rail businesses that are integral to the success of the UK rail network must gain greater consideration from the Williams Rail Review.

This is the view of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), the organisation that is a leading voice of the rail supply community.

Established by the Transport Secretary in September 2018, the Williams Rail Review is seeking to establish the most appropriate organisational and commercial frameworks to support the delivery of the government’s strategy for the railway.

The RIA has previously called for an end to ‘boom and bust’ rail funding in response to the Review, but has now set out its position and the importance of rail businesses that are responsible for building, maintaining and enhancing the network is high on the agenda.

According to the Association, the Review must take greater consideration of rail businesses.

A number of considerations were highlighted in the RIA’s submission, including better collaboration between the supply chain, Network Rail and train operators; the need to attract more private investment; removing ‘stop-start’ workloads in rolling stock, infrastructure and electrification projects – all of which can drive up cost of projects by almost a third.

The submission has also called for a 30-year rail strategy with visibility of future infrastructure work, to ensure businesses are able to plan and invest with confidence in future activity.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive, urged the Review to give greater consideration to rail businesses.

He said: “Whist it is clearly right to consider the best operating model for the railway, the Review should also investigate how we can optimally build, maintain and enhance our railways in the future too.

“For suppliers to play their part, rail businesses need to see greater visibility of upcoming work, understand how the private sector can get more involved in financing rail improvements, and they need consistency in workloads, including infrastructure, rolling stock and electrification, which is the optimal solution for intensively used rail lines.

“Delivering on this brings significant cost reductions, better efficiency, and ultimately better services for passengers and freight, the central focus of the Review.

“We urge Keith Williams and the Review team to give greater priority and consideration to the key role rail suppliers will play as they seek to develop their findings.”

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