Rail industry welcomes new Parliamentary inquiry into ‘trains fit for the future’ and calls for volatility in the rolling stock market to be considered

23 April 2019


Today, Parliament's Transport Select Committee launched an inquiry into 'trains fit for the future'.

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: “The Railway Industry Association welcomes the announcement today of a new parliamentary inquiry into how we can ensure trains are fit for the future.

“Firstly, it is an opportunity to look at how we can smooth out a highly volatile rolling stock market that has negatively impacted the demand for the refurbishment of trains currently on the network. The five years between 2012 and 2017 saw 7,000 new vehicles ordered which, whilst good for passengers, could see some 4,000 vehicles coming off lease in the next few years with no new home to go to. So RIA urges the Transport Select Committee to consider what can be done, as the market begins to slow and the need for a smoother profile of rolling stock work - that balances the use of new and existing trains - becomes even more crucial.

“Also, it is essential to look at decarbonisation too. With the publication last month of RIA’s Electrification Cost Challenge report, showing that electrification can be delivered for less than half the cost of some past projects, now is exactly the right time to consider how the rail network can be decarbonised by 2040. RIA will continue to call for a rolling programme of cost-effective electrification, as the optimal solution for intensively used lines, as well as the continued development of new technologies like hydrogen, battery and trimodes.

“We look forward to engaging with the Transport Select Committee as it progresses this vital and timely inquiry.”

Notes to Editors

  1. More information on the Transport Select Committee’s inquiry into ‘trains fit for the future’ can be found here.
  2. RIA’s Electrification Cost Challenge report can be found here.
  3. 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 275+ 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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