Rail industry welcomes Government pledge to work together to solve 'boom and bust' funding, and urges Government to keep electrification on the table

19 September 2018

The Government gave its response today to the Transport Select Committee's Rail Infrastructure Investment Inquiry.
On rail funding, Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, responded:

"The Railway Industry Association welcomes the Government's commitment today to work with RIA and its members, Network Rail and key stakeholder to solve the issue of 'boom and bust' in rail funding.
"Following on from the Transport Select Committee's report, which recognises the need to reduce peaks and troughs in rail investment, it is clearly a positive development that the DfT is committing to address an issue which has such a hugely detrimental impact on the supply chain. 'Boom and bust' reduces the ability of rail businesses to invest and to hire and train staff, increases the cost of work on the rail network by up to 30%, and jeopardises the survival of SMEs. 
"As we approach a new five-year funding period starting in April 2019, Control Period 6, it is good that we all agree now is the time to bring together all the relevant parties, to work to resolve this issue once and for all."

On electrification, Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, responded:
"Whilst we welcome the Government's commitment to work with the Railway Industry Association on the RIA Electrification Cost Challenge report, which will look at how electrification schemes can be delivered at a cost substantially lower than some recent schemes, we continue to urge the Government to keep electrification on the table. RIA can already highlight examples around the UK, such as in Scotland, and internationally, which show electrification being delivered at a cost-effective level, and we are confident that in the near future we can get the costs down still further if there is a consistent, visible, pipeline of work.
"It is still the case that over the long-term, on intensively used railways, electrification is the most economic and sustainable mode of powering trains. It will be one of the solutions crucial to decarbonising the UK railway by 2040, which the Government says it wants to do."

Notes to Editors

  1. The Government's Response to the Transport Select Committee's Rail Infrastructure Investment Inquiry Report can be found here.
  2. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the representative body for UK-based suppliers to the UK and world-wide railways. It has more than 200 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.

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