Posted 21st July 2010

'Value for money' rail inquiry chief to speak at Derby conference

Network Rail is said to be 3050 per cent less efficient in terms of maintenance and renewals expenditure than comparable European railways.

Network Rail is said to be 3050 per cent less efficient in terms of maintenance and renewals expenditure than comparable European railways.

SIR Roy McNulty, who is leading the major ‘value for money’ inquiry of the rail industry for the British government, is to be a keynote speaker at the next Derby & Derbyshire Rail Forum’s conference, sponsored by Railnews.

Sir Roy McNulty’s ‘scoping’ report has already identified the rail industry as costing 40 per cent more to operate than under British Rail — and that Network Rail is 30–50 per cent less efficient in terms of maintenance and renewals expenditure than comparable European railways.  

As a result, Transport Secretary Phillip Hammond has asked Sir Roy McNulty to bring forward the conclusions of his report by six months — in time for the autumn Pre-Budget Review. 

The Derby & Derbyshire Rail Forum’s conference — with Railnews as its media partner — will be held on 4 November.

The conference theme will be Derby’s position as a world centre for railway excellence — and will come at a crucial time for the city and its rail industry suppliers.

A study for Derby City Council, the East Midlands Development Agency and the Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce, by consultants URS said “the East Midlands is the rail capital of the UK and is Europe’s densest cluster of rail engineering companies”.

Last year, Bill Emery — chief executive of the Office of Rail Regulation — spoke of Derby having “the largest cluster of rail companies in the world and huge reputation for excellence in rail engineering, design, manufacturing and consultancy”.

The URS study found that 75 rail sector organisations directly employed approximately 5,010 people within Derby, plus another 8,500 jobs supported locally.

“This equates to seven per cent of all employment locally and 13 per cent of all rail-related jobs within the UK,” said URS – with “almost 600 further companies in the region linked in some way to the rail sector.”

Looking forward, URS commented: “The rail sector is heavily dependent upon Government investment and thus the short, medium and long-term future relies upon continued commitment from Whitehall.”

Sir Roy McNulty’s ‘value-for-money’ report is expected, therefore, to have a major impact on the rail-based element of Derby’s economy 

Among other speakers and panellists confirmed for the Derby & Derbyshire Rail Forum conference are Gil Howarth, programme director for creating the new National Skills Academy for Railway Engineering; Andrew Lewer, Leader of Derbyshire County Council; Harvey Jennings, Leader of Derby City Council; John Forkin, Director of Marketing Derby; George Cowcher, Chief Executive, Derbyshire & Nottinghamshire Chamber of Commerce; Dave Bull, Business Development Manager, Tecforce; and James Wall, General Manager, Rail Division, Shorterm; and Tom Glick, Presient & Chief Executive Officer, Derby County Football Club.

For more details — and of the pre-conference dinner on 3 November —contact Debbie Cook, Derby & Derbyshire Rail Forum Co-ordinator, tel: 01332 642395, email: debbie.cook@derby.gov.uk.