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Open letter to the PM: Urging the Government to bring forward the Bill establishing Great British Railways and rail reform in this Parliament

Railway Industry Association

5 min read Partner content

Over 65 rail business leaders have written to the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, urging him not to delay in bringing forward legislation to enact the Government’s rail reform plans in the coming Parliamentary year.

Dear Prime Minister,

As private sector railway suppliers and investors in UK rail we welcome the recent announcement of the location for GBR’s new headquarters in Derby. This is a significant milestone on the road to reforming our industry and delivering a simpler, better railway for everyone in the country.

To build on this momentum we – the Railway Industry Association and member companies – ask the Government, as a matter of priority given short timescales, and to gain the benefits as soon as possible for both customers (passengers and freight) and the industry, to bring forward the Bill which will formally establish Great British Railways before the end of this Parliament. This will enable the private sector to work alongside the new “guiding mind” to grow passenger numbers and freight volumes, at a time when we are all seeking to boost the economy and decarbonise, helping the Government achieve Net Zero by 2050. Our businesses are committed to UK rail, but they need certainty to invest and deliver best value and a much better deal for the taxpayer.

There are a significant number of railway industry jobs and millions of pounds of investment in virtually every constituency. Nationally, independent analysis by Oxford Economics shows that UK rail supports £43bn GVA, 710,000 jobs, £14bn Treasury revenues, and for every £1 spent on rail, £2.50 is spent in the wider economy. We believe that Transport Secretary Mark Harper's persuasive vision for greater collaboration between the private and public sectors can stimulate growth, reduce taxpayer support and deliver a railway with a commercial mindset that truly puts customers first. This new partnership will unlock innovation and drive down costs, but time is short, and these benefits should not be delayed.

We appreciate that there are many pressures on the Parliamentary timetable, but we urge you to place rail reform front and centre of your programme. Legislation is needed as soon as possible to bring costs and revenues together in one place, something which is essential to the success of any organisation.

As private sector businesses we need certainty on industry structure and responsibilities – this is essential to our collective ability to invest in R&D, innovation, skills, and to recruit the next generation of apprentices and graduates. The GBR legislation will enable us to deliver this, but for this key piece of legislation to be enacted before the next General Election it needs to be tabled soon – otherwise we face a potential further delay of 18 months or more. As industry leaders from private sector businesses – keen to deliver a modern, efficient, railway focused on the needs of passengers and freight – we ask you to ensure the Government tables the necessary legislation to deliver this certainty today.

Signed by the following rail supply leaders:    

Abi Broadley, Director, Abi Broadley Consulting Ltd
Alan Robertson, Chairman, VolkerWessels UK
Allan Bell, Chief Commercial & Procurement Officer, British Steel
Amy Jeffs, Managing Director, Hey Me
Andy Bell, Vice President, Thales GTS UK
Andy Joy, CEO, Story Contracting
Andy Chick, Managing Director, Rail Sense
Antony Kearns, Managing Director, Rhomberg Sersa UK Ltd
Ben Craze, CEO, Infinitive Group
Bob Howells, Chairman, Smart Component Technologies Ltd
Chris Pike, Partner, Sector Director UK Rail, Arcadis
Chris Rumfitt, Founder & Chief Executive, Field Consulting
Professor Clive Roberts, Lead for the UKRRIN Centre of Excellence in Digital Systems, University of Birmingham
Colin Johnson, Managing Director, D/Gauge
Colin Wood, CEO, AECOM Europe & India
Daniel Saxton, Head of Rail Western Europe, TÜV Rheinland
Danny Rigby, Managing Director, Modux
Darren Caplan, CEO, Railway Industry Association
Darren James, CEO, Keltbray
Darren Reed, Managing Director Rail, WSP
Gary Elliott, Managing Director, Trough-Tec Systems
Grant Harley, General Manager, Petards Rail
Emily Kent, Co-Founder, One Big Circle Ltd
Gareth Richardson, Managing Director, Geismar
James Bain, COO, Worldline; Chair, Rail Supply Group
James Holmes, Rail Sector Director, Amey
Jean-Pierre Bertrand, CEO, Colas Rail UK
Jo Field, Founder & CEO, JFG Communications
Jonathan Willcock, Managing Director, Skanska Infrastructure
Julie Owen, Interim CEO & CFO UKI, Siemens Mobility
Keith Orgill, Director, OLE Ltd
Lee Brun, Engineering Director, Mosdorfer Rail
Manoj Agrawal, CEO, Softech Rail
Magnus Friberg, CEO, Icomera Group
Malcolm Wilson, Chair and Founder, IPEX Consulting
Marcus Allender, Cofounder & Business Development Director, Window Seater Ltd
Martin Hawley, Managing Director, SPL Powerlines UK
Mary Kenny, CEO, Eversholt Rail Ltd
Michael Byng, Managing Director, MBPC Infrastructure
Mike Carter, General Manager, Eaton Electrical Products
Mike Wilson, Managing Director, Henry Williams Ltd
Neil McNicholas, Managing Director, Unipart Rail
Nick Crossfield, Managing Director, Alstom UK&I
Nick Salt, CEO, Systra
Nina Lockwood, Founder & Director, Intuitive Interim & Executive Search Ltd
Nuno Vasco, BDM & Railway Industry Lead, Phoenix Contact UK
Professor Paul Allen, Lead for the UKRRIN Centre of Excellence in Rolling Stock, University of Huddersfield
Paul Goodhand, Managing Director, Knorr-Bremse Rail Systems (UK)
Paul Harrington, General Manager, Signature Rail
Paul Knighting, UK Head of Infrastructure Director, Gleeds
Paul Lester CBE, Chairman, Telent
Paul McSharry, Managing Director, Kilborn Consulting
Paul Milner, Managing Director, Matisa
Pino De Rosa, Managing Director, Bridgeway Consulting Limited
Ray Chapman, Director, Ray Chapman Ltd
Richard Chitty, Group Managing Director, Frankham Consultancy Group
Richard Wheldon, Rail Business Manager, Frazer-Nash Consultancy
Simon Whatley, Managing Director, SRS Rail System International Ltd
Steve Barbour, Managing Director, Composite Braiding
Steve Derrick, Managing Director, AARC Professional Services Limited
Steve Wooler, CEO, BWB Consulting Limited
Stuart Burns, Managing Director, Dura Composites
Tim Bentley, Group Sales & Commercial Director, Wabtec UK
Trevor Bradbury, Director, Pragmatex
Professor William Powrie, Lead for the UKRRIN Centre of Excellence in Infrastructure, University of Southampton
Will Wilson, CEO, Linbrooke Services

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