Railway industry responds to Queen’s Speech
19 December 2019
Today, the Government set out their legislative priorities for the new Parliamentary term in the Queen’s Speech.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “RlA and our members welcome the Government’s commitment announced today to significantly boosting infrastructure investment on the UK’s railways.
“It is encouraging to see the Government support HS2, for which the Oakervee Report is still awaited, Northern Powerhouse Rail and the Midlands Rail Hub, and to reopen lines across the country, reversing the so-called ‘Beeching’ cuts. We also ask the Government to commit to other major rail infrastructure projects like Transpennine Route Upgrade, Crossrail 2, and a rolling programme of electrification, all of which are required to unlock capacity, increase connectivity and boost investment across the UK. Capacity in the UK’s railways really does need a significant boost; and it is clear we also need to decarbonise, digitalise and improve efficiency on both the existing and future network.
“However, as the new Parliament begins we strongly urge policy makers to seek to eradicate ‘boom and bust’ in rail funding, as our RAIL 2050 manifesto calls for, with a renewed focus on delivering an ambitious programme of renewals and enhancements in the current funding period (CP6). We also need to see a better balance of the fleet between new and upgraded trains. Crucially, the industry faces significant challenges over the coming years, both domestically with the Williams Review and Network Rail restructure plans, and in how we trade overseas, in a post-Brexit world. Through all of this our railways need work to continue as planned, without any hiatus.
“We now look forward to working with the new Government and the Opposition, to build customer-focused rail at home and abroad in the coming months and years.”
Notes to Editors
- RIA’s RAIL 2050 Manifesto can be found here
- The Queen’s Speech can be found here
- 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. We promote and represent our members’ interests to policy makers, clients and other stakeholders in the UK and overseas. RIA has 290+ 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 growing industry with the number of rail journeys expected to double over the next 25 years and freight set to grow significantly too. 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