Posted 11th April 2022 | 1 Comment

RIA warns of ‘struggling’ rail suppliers as doubts continue

The continuing postponement of the government’s plans to improve the railways is causing problems for the rail supply industry and could lead to increases in project costs, according to the Railway Industry Association. It is now almost two and a half years since the Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline was last updated, in October 2019.

RIA said it has been ‘repeatedly’ urging the Department for Transport to update the plan, which is supposed to be reviewed every year. It sets out upgrades which were planned for the five years between 2019 and 2024, including electrification of the Midland Main Line, the Transpennine Route Upgrade and East Coast signalling upgrades.

In 2019, the plan included other schemes such as increasing freight capacity in Cumbria and the Heathrow Airport Western Rail Link, but many of these improvements are now looking uncertain.

Answering a Parliamentary Question in February this year, rail minister Wendy Morton said the government was committed to publishing an update to the plan ’shortly’.

RIA chief executive Darren Caplan said: ‘RIA’s Enhancements Clock now shows we are passing the 900 day milestone. We regularly hear from rail suppliers that they struggle to plan for the years ahead with such little certainty about which projects will be given the green light in the coming years. In what is a complex and highly skilled sector like rail, this uncertainty hamstrings businesses’ ability to deliver cost-effectively, and risks adding costs and delays to key upgrades.’

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  • Neil Palmer, Waterloo

    Typical government incompetence, and rather hypocritical when they complain of high costs on rail enhancements when it's exactly this sort of thing that contributes to those higher costs. It seems the only thing they can plan in a reasonable time frame are parties at Number 10.