Rail industry sets out recommendations for upcoming Devolved National and Regional Elections

14 April 2021

The Railway Industry Association, the voice of the UK rail supply community, has published five manifestos ahead of the devolved national and regional elections taking place next month. The Manifestos can be found here:

The Manifestos highlight the ‘key asks’ the rail industry would like to see from political decision makers in Scotland, London and the South East, Midlands, the North of England and Wales & Western over the coming years. The North of England manifesto has been produced jointly with Northern Rail Industry Leaders (NRIL).

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “The upcoming Devolved National and Regional Elections offer the opportunity for candidates, across the political spectrum and in all parts of the UK, to affirm their commitment to a strong, vibrant rail sector that can lead the economic revival following Coronavirus. Rail is green; it’s a catalyst for economic growth and its geographically spread across the country, making it a prime candidate for continued investment, at such a critical time for the economy.

“The Railway Industry Association has published five manifestos today setting out what rail businesses need from policy makers in order to best support the economy and jobs. Whether in Scotland, the North, Midlands, London and the South East or Wales & Western, the rail industry needs a consistent and visible profile of work, support to decarbonise and digitalise the network, commitments to major projects and backing to develop innovation and skills. We look forward to working with all parties, both before and after the elections, to ensure our railways continue to act as the economic backbone of the country.”

Co-Chairs of the Northern Rail Industry Leaders (NRIL) Justin Moss and Mike Hulme, said: “We are pleased to publish this joint manifesto for rail in the North with RIA. The North’s rail supply industry is crucial to the regional and national economy and helping to connect communities across the country. It is also a catalyst for green skilled jobs, economic growth and investment.

 “As an industry we are at a pivotal moment, with many Northern businesses facing real uncertainty coming out of the pandemic over the future pipeline of work – most notably around major projects such as HS2 Eastern Leg and Northern Powerhouse Rail. This uncertainty must be addressed urgently by our national and local political leaders. The industry also requires support to continue to decarbonise, help drive investment in local skills and ensure innovation is at the heart of the future plans for rail.  

“The North’s next political leaders will have a vital role to play in helping drive the region’s rail network forward. We stand ready to work with all candidates to help the North’s rail industry to spur a recovery from Coronavirus and build a better, cleaner network for future generations.”

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 some 300 companies in membership in a sector that contributes £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people—more than the workforce of Birmingham. It is also a vital industry for the UK’s economic recovery, supporting green investment and jobs in towns and communities across the UK. 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). RIA works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry.

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