Rail Industry responds to Rail Minister's appearance before Transport Select Committee

Rail Minister Jo Johnson MP appeared before the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into rail infrastructure investment today (Monday 30 April 2018).

On funding, Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) responded:

“The Transport Select Committee have today concluded their rail infrastructure investment inquiry evidence sessions, with Rail Minister Jo Johnson the final speaker. It has become clear through the inquiry that the biggest issue facing the rail industry is the funding system and the need to eradicate ‘boom and bust’ in railway investment.

“The Railway Industry Association and our members have made it clear that failure to stop the ramping up and then drop-off of investment makes the cost of renewing the railways up to 30% more expensive at the same time as fostering a culture where teams working on the system disband and SMEs go out of business, due to the stop-start nature of the work.

“This is not a new issue – ‘boom and bust’ has been a feature of the rail funding system since the 1990s. We have always said we support five-year Control Periods, but we do ask the Committee to recommend that the key players in rail – the DfT, Network Rail, the Office of Rail & Road, and the supply sector – get together to find a way to stop ‘boom and bust’, to help us all deliver a world class railway we can all be proud of in the future.”

In response to Rail Minister Jo Johnson’s comments on electrification, David Clarke, Technical Director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) said:

“Whilst advances in technology can help the industry move towards a zero carbon railway, it remains RIA’s position that electrification is still the optimal technical solution for the intensively used parts of the rail network. The problem has been that some recent programmes have been costing far more than they should, and this led RIA to launch its cross-industry Electrification Cost Challenge, which shows that electrification can be delivered at an affordable cost.

"RIA maintains that further electrification is an important part of any decarbonisation strategy for the railways, and the Government must keep an open mind on this issue if it wants to deliver a sustainable and affordable transport system for the future."

Notes to Editors

  1. More information on the Transport Select Committee’s rail investment inquiry 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. www.riagb.org.uk

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