UK rail industry on fast track to growth


The rail industry and government has launched ‘Fast Track for Growth’, a vision for the UK rail supply industry. 
 
Britain gave birth to the railways and over the last two centuries British companies have played a major role in their successful expansion across the globe. The rail supply industry today employs around 120,000 people, with the potential for significant growth.
 
Over the coming decade, we have a unique opportunity to renew our domestic supply chain so that it can seize the growing business opportunities at home and abroad.  Jobs, skills, new technologies, investment, growth, innovation. Resulting in higher efficiency, reduced costs and a better service for passengers. In short, we have the chance to create a truly world class rail supply industry.
 
The opportunities are clear:
 
•    Big investment in the UK: over £38bn up to 2019, with a strong pipeline of projects in the 2020s
•    New markets: for instance, the transition to a Digital Railway presents new opportunities, with emerging markets overseas, such as Asia-Pacific, expanding rapidly. 
•    Global: the world’s rail supply market expected to grow by a healthy 2.75 p.a over the next 6 years.
 
The Rail Supply Group’s vision is crystal clear. To strengthen the competitiveness of the UK supply industry in five key areas, so that by 2025, the industry will:
 
•    More than double export volumes
•    Attract the very best UK talent to the rail sector
•    Harness the energy & innovation of a greater number of SMEs
•    Be a global leader in High Speed rail.  And
•    Have a highly innovative and entrepreneurial supply chain. 
 
All of that resulting in the UK confirming its place as a global leader in rail.
 
Now this isn’t just a rail industry activity. The Rail Supply Group has spent a lot of time learning from other Sector Councils: the challenges, what worked, and what didn’t. Automotive is a great example: a struggling sector 30 years ago, but now a world-class industry benefiting from co-ordinated action to turn things around.  So we are building on the model already developed by the other sectors, which means that, later this year, we will deliver a Rail Industrial Strategy.
 
This is exciting. But it will fail if it is only a small Council of industry leaders pushing the case. So we are seeking your engagement and feedback.  Please read the Vision document, visit the website (www.railsupplygroup.org) and let us know what you think. Help us to create a truly world class rail supply industry and make the UK a global leader in rail again.

The vision document is available here

Craig Jones

Director, Alstom Ltd