The Railway Industry Association (RIA), the national trade body for rail suppliers, has published its submission to the Spending Review in which it urges government for greater clarity in order to support the sector in ‘building back better’.
In its submission, RIA calls for:
- The immediate publication of the Williams Review and the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline (RNEP), to give certainty to the industry on structure and infrastructure plans;
- The organisation of a Rolling Stock Summit, to bring together key industry players to develop a long term plan for the UK train fleet, including smoothing the volatility of the market, digitalisation, decarbonisation and innovation;
- Longer-term Control Period style funding settlements for devolved transport bodies, that allow the rail industry to continue key work.
RIA chief executive Darren Caplan said: “The government’s Spending Review offers an opportunity to place rail at the heart of the ‘Build Back Better’ agenda. To do so the sector needs clarity and certainty on how the industry will change over the coming years, and future investment plans.
“We are yet to see the much-awaited Williams Review White Paper, and it has now been a year since the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline was last updated, giving rail businesses visibility of what upgrade projects are being planned. Rail can support the UK’s economic recovery, but to do so it needs clear direction from government.
“The supply chain does have capacity which is not currently being used, so our sector is offering a solution to the government, not a problem. If the government acts urgently on this, the results will be seen for the next five years, at a time when rebooting UK plc, its economy and transport infrastructure connectivity, will be of the highest priority.
In its submission to the Spending Review, RIA also calls for a Rolling Stock Summit to bring together the key players in the industry.
“For many years, the rail sector has not had a clear, effective rolling stock strategy, meaning there has been little planning of train orders, leading to significant volatility in the market,” Darren Caplan claimed.
“As we face the challenge of decarbonising and digitalising our train fleet, it is more vital than ever that the industry comes together to develop a long term plan for rolling stock investment, that gets the balance right between refurbished and new trains.
“We hope that all will join our call for a Summit that sets out a plan to deliver for customers, the industry and the economy.”