Railway industry supports the Government’s commitment to deliver a modern, digital, railway

 Today (10 May 2018) the Government has published its Digital Railway Strategy in York.
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) said: 

“The Railway Industry Association welcomes the news today that the Government is seeking to roll digital technology out across the UK’s rail network. We live in a digital age, and rail should be at the forefront of the Government’s plans to modernise major transport infrastructure.
“With almost two thirds of rail signalling needing to be replaced in the next 15 years, this is the ideal time to transform the railway through new technology. Shifting to digital can increase capacity on the network and also cut journey times and costs, to the benefit of passengers and the taxpayer.
“Rail industry suppliers are more than up to the task of delivering this shift to digital, and we urge the Government to ensure there is a visible and consistent pipeline of work, so the sector can plan, upskill and invest in the exciting challenge which lies ahead. RIA and its members look forward to working with the Government, Network Rail and all in the industry to secure this exciting future.
“Whilst the digital upgrade is implemented, it is important that existing conventional systems are maintained too. So we ask the Government and Network Rail to continue supporting suppliers of legacy signalling products and services, as we migrate from traditional signalling to digital in the years ahead.”
David Clarke, Technical Director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) said:
“The publication today of the Digital Railway Strategy is a great opportunity for rail suppliers to get involved in the transformation of the network and to find new ways of working with clients like Network Rail, using intelligent procurement that delivers better whole life value for all parties by focussing on output specifications, and long term collaborative relationships. 
“RIA understand that whilst this shift to digital signalling is a significant opportunity for the industry, it will also pose challenges to some companies who currently work in the conventional signalling sector and who may not yet feel ready to transition to digital.
“We will therefore be supporting the industry in stepping up to this challenge and will be holding a conference jointly with Digital Railway and UKRRIN at the end of June or early July for suppliers to find out what today’s announcement means for them. Registrations of interest are now open here and I encourage all involved in signalling to join us for this important event.”
Notes to Editors

  1. Please find the Department for Transport press release here
  2.  RIA is working with Network Rail and the Digital Railway Centre of Excellence at Birmingham University to promote a supplier engagement event in late June/early July. Suppliers can express interest in attending this here.
  3.  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 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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