Rail is vital for the UK, so it is important the industry has a voice

Rail contributes £36 billion a year to the economy. It brings communities together, moves goods across the country and allows businesses to thrive. With demand for rail passengers doubling over the past twenty years, it is important for the industry to engage with politicians and policy makers from across the political spectrum. 

RIA works to represents the rail sector to key decision makers and influencers, highlighting issues of importance to our members, campaigning for sectoral growth and showcasing the value of rail to the UK. 

We regularly engage with Parliamentarians in Westminster, with devolved administrations and regional bodies and with EU representatives in Brussels. 

Find out more about the key issues facing rail 


In February 2018, RIA published The Economic Contribution of UK Rail in response to concerns that the size and economic impact of the rail industry was being under-reported.

This ground-breaking report, developed by independent researchers Oxford Economics, found that UK rail:

  • Contributes over £36bn annually to the UK economy (a greater economic impact than the food, drink and tobacco manufacturing and the chemical and pharmaceutical industries);
  • Provides around 600,000 jobs (employing more people than the entire workforce of Birmingham);
  • Generates £11bn annually in tax revenue; and
  • Generates £2.20 of income from every £1 spent on the rail network.


Read the full report here

‘Boom and bust’ funding in the rail industry is having a significant detrimental effect on the supply chain, leading to redundancies and recruitment freezes, reductions in investment, threatening the ability of SMEs to survive and adding up to 30% to rail industry costs.

RIA believes that the current five-year Control Period funding system should be improved to smooth to stop ‘boom and bust’, whilst ensuring there is not a return to annualised budgeting.

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Electrification remains the optimal form of traction for an intensely used railway, as it has a number of benefits, including costing less in the long term, reducing journey times, producing less wear on the track and being more environmentally friendly.

However, the cost of electrification schemes have risen over the past decade which is why in 2017 RIA launched a new cross-sector initiative – the Electrification Cost Challenge – to investigate how the costs of electrification can be reduced. An evidence based report will be published following the Challenge in Summer 2018.

RIA urge the Government to keep an open mind and ensure electrification remains ‘on the table’ as an option for future rail enhancements, particularly if it seeks to decarbonise the rail network by 2040.

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RIA continues to support HS2 and Crossrail, but we also seek to ensure support is maintained for Northern Powerhouse Rail, East West Rail and Crossrail 2 – all of which will provide significant economic boosts across the UK as well as improving connectivity and capacity.

Brexit poses a number of challenges and opportunities for the rail industry.

Challenges include the  need for certainty on whether rail standards will be harmonised, diverged, or a mixture of the two, ensuring there is continued access to certain a skilled workforce and avoiding any overly bureaucratic tariff or non-tariff barriers, which could cause border delays for exporting suppliers.

The main opportunity is the role of rail in trade deals. Given the size and strategic significance of rail to UK plc it is important the rail sector is included in – and takes advantage of – trade deals when the Department for International Trade negotiates with non-EU and EU countries.

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RIA looks forward working with Network Rail in securing opportunities for more third party funding for our railways. However, the Rail Network Enhancements Pipelines (published in April 2018) does not include ‘construction ready’ schemes, which is likely to result in a significant reduction in enhancements workload in the next few years.

RIA urges the Government to accelerate projects where possible, ensuring that the level of enhancements in CP6 is at least equal to that of CP5; and it needs to give the rail sector longer-term visibility and certainty on the enhancements pipeline of work for 2019-2024, so that suppliers can plan and invest.

Our Commitment to Ethical Lobbying

RIA is fully committed to ethical and transparent lobbying and is a member of the Public Affairs Board of the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA). All RIA employees involved in lobbying activities have signed the Public Affairs Code and attended training sessions.

Find out more about the Public Affairs Board here 

RIA is also on the European Commission Transparency Register. 

Find out more about the register here

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More at RIA

Brexit and its impact on the rail industry

Find out what RIA is doing to prepare its Members for Brexit.

Read More

The economic value of rail to the UK

Research by RIA has shown rail contributes £36 billion to the economy and supports 600,000 jobs.

Read More

RIA launches Rail Fellowship Programme

The Rail Fellowship Programme will see politicians and influencers visit member sites for a 'hands on' experience to learn more about and promote the railway industry.

Read More

Talk to us

Railway Industry Association

22 Headfort Place
United Kingdom

+44 (0)20 7201 0777

RIA is a company limited by guarantee registered in England & Wales Reg. No. 10036044