Rail industry responds to NAO Report on electrification

Today, the National Audit Office has published the findings of its investigation into the Department for Transport’s decision to cancel three rail electrification projects. The report is available here.

Darren Caplan Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) said: "The National Audit Office's (NAO) report today has confirmed that the cost of electrification was the main reason for the Government's decision in July 2017 to cancel a number of proposed schemes.

"The Railway Industry Association understand why this decision was made, but believes that electrification remains the best option for intensely used railways, due to its environmental benefits, improvement to journey times, and reduction in track wear. It is therefore vital that the Government continues to keep electrification on the table when considering future rail improvements.

"Nevertheless, the industry understands that we must work to see how costs can be reduced. RIA is currently running an Electrification Cost Challenge process, which seeks to do just that by bringing together relevant industry stakeholders and suppliers to look systematically at the cost of electrification and how it can be reduced. We hope that our report, due to be published later this year, will help open the door for future electrification schemes by showing how they could be delivered more cost efficiently and effectively.”

Note to Editors

  1. The NAO Report can be found here.
  2. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the trade association for UK-based suppliers to the UK and world-wide railways. It has some 200 companies in membership, in 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 multinational 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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