New deal to transform rail sector to increase efficiency and improve passenger experience


• Rail Sector Deal to help reduce cost of infrastructure, allowing the Government to build and maintain the railway even more efficiently
• It will encourage greater innovation and use of digital technologies to improve passenger experience
• Deal will double UK rail industry exports by 2025

The Government has today (Thursday, 6 December) announced the details of a new deal which will enable the rail sector to deliver more for passengers, create jobs and drive economic growth across the country.

The Rail Sector Deal, which marks a key milestone in the government’s modern Industrial Strategy, will help increase the exchange of ideas between the rail industry and other sectors, predicting problems on the network before they arise and solving them through innovative working.

Improved engagement between industry and government will mean the supply chain better understands future demand. This will enable companies to invest with confidence to increase skills and innovation. The deal will also help the industry reduce the cost of building the railway, support the sector to increase its exports, attract small businesses to the market and encourage more young people to pursue a career in the rail industry.

The deal will also bring significant benefits for passengers by paving the way for the development of new customer products, such as better journey planning apps.

Rail Minister, Andrew Jones MP, said:
“Since their invention nearly two centuries ago, the railways have brought people across the country closer together and helped to drive our industries.

“The rail sector deal will help us go even further, enabling the industry to harness new digital technologies to improve the experience of passengers and create well-paid, highly-skilled jobs.”

Industrial Strategy Minister, Richard Harrington MP, said:

“The rail network is vital to millions of Britons and we want to ensure the sector continues to thrive in the future. Through increased use of digital technology, driving down the cost of infrastructure, this new partnership between the Government and the rail industry will create a better experience for passengers and businesses, as well as boost the economy.

“A year on from the publication of our modern Industrial Strategy, this is further evidence of the Government delivering on its commitment to strengthen industries across the UK to create new jobs and develop the skills needed for a prosperous future.”

International Trade Secretary, Dr Liam Fox MP, said:
“The industry’s pledge to double the UK’s export of rail related goods and services is both ambitious and challenging and we will work closely with the sector to help them achieve this.

“Our recently launched Export Strategy sets out how we will increase total exports from 30% to 35% of UK GDP. I encourage the rail sector, and all businesses, to make the most of our offer of support which includes export credit from UK Export Finance and in country backing from our network of overseas posts and HM Trade Commissioners.”

Key features of the deal include a plan to:

• Significantly reduce digital signalling costs by 2025
• Double rail exports by 2025
• Help Government work better with industry, and strengthen its relationship with the supply chain to increase confidence for investors
• Support sector apprenticeships and increasing awareness amongst children of opportunities within the rail sector
• Establish a data sharing platform to support further innovation to enhance passenger experience

The rail sector employs over 225,000 people and directly contributes over £5 billion to the UK economy. That is why the government has embarked on the biggest rail programme since Victorian times, committing to spend nearly £48 billion on modernising and renewing the UK’s railways, delivering a railway fit for the 21st century.

Anna Delvecchio, Commercial Account Director at Amey and RSG Sector Deal co-lead, said:

“Developing the deal has been an example of cross-industry and government collaboration at its best.

“It sets out a well-defined strategy to provide greater improvement to customers, using digital technologies and data as a catalyst to increase productivity and drive innovation.”

Philip Hoare, Chief Executive Officer Atkins UK & Europe and RSG Sector Deal co- lead, said:

“The rail sector deal brings together those companies and Government departments who are fully committed to improving rail services and enhancing the customer experience across the UK.

“This is a great opportunity for sustained whole sector collaboration as “one railway”, an opportunity I know the industry is keen to take.”

Anna Ince, Chief Executive Officer at supply chain SME Resonate, said:

“Now that we have a proven reference site in the UK, we are excited that the Sector Deal will give us a launch-pad to export our ground breaking technology worldwide.”

SME case study: Resonate

Resonate traces its history back to 1964 as a division of British Rail. Today it has been transformed into a tech company with 200 staff bringing a unique combination of high-end IT skills and deep domain knowledge, focused on the transport sector.

In 2010, Resonate began a £30m self-investment programme in traffic management. The investment was borne of two ideas: Firstly, the emerging realisation of the need for railways worldwide to increase capacity and improve performance; and secondly, that this decade of unparalleled IT change was opening up unprecedented opportunities to deliver adaptable and affordable solutions.

A UK first, Resonate’s Luminate Traffic Management System has been deployed on the Western Route from Bristol to London Paddington. Using digital age architecture, it provides the tools, data and AI platform to improve the journeys of 100 million passengers per year.

Resonate is a UK digital company that will help drive, and benefit from, the Sector Deal’s focus on the digitalisation of UK rail. Railways around the world have broadly the same challenges as the UK; long-term passenger and freight growth, increased urbanisation, the need for integrated transport delivery to drive economies - all set against the imperative for cost effective solutions. An innovative and dynamic solution, created and implemented in the UK, will have huge export potential.

Notes to Editors

Modern Industrial Strategy

The modern Industrial Strategy, published last year, set out how the whole of the UK can build on its strengths, extend them into the future, and capitalise on new opportunities. Investing in science and research to keep us at the forefront of new technologies and the benefits they bring. Nurturing the talent of tomorrow - through more outstanding schools, world-leading universities and the technical skills that will drive our economy. And transforming the places where people live and work – the places where ideas and inspiration are born – by backing businesses and building infrastructure across every part of our country.

It has been taken forward at pace over the last year:

• Innovative ideas that bring together world-class UK science, research and innovation to develop cutting edge products and services of the future have received an extra £1.7bn making it the largest increase for 40 years (to £7bn). That includes £210m to develop new medical diagnostic tools and treatments, £90m for the food and farming industry to embrace agri-tech and £184m for 41 UK universities to train the next generation of world-class scientists and engineers.
• Six sector deals between government and industry have been published – from construction and automotive to nuclear and the creative industries, including £1.9bn of investment in life sciences and £1bn for artificial intelligence. They are not only about attracting investment and growth, but also ensuring we have the skilled, diverse workforce we need for the future.
• Plans for new technical qualifications (T-levels) and to transform the quality and quantity of apprenticeships.
• Furthered the connectivity of Britain’s towns, cities and rural areas, including the first allocations of the £190 million full-fibre challenge fund and £25 million for six 5G testbeds across the UK.
• Opened the Transforming Cities Fund with billions of pounds ready to go to projects that drive productivity by improving connections within city regions.
• Opened the Faraday Institution in Oxford to keep the UK at the forefront of global battery manufacture.
• Announced plans for a new spaceport in Sutherland – bringing high skilled local jobs and help the whole UK capitalise on the huge potential of the commercial space age.
• The UK now has the fastest growing infrastructure investment across the G7, providing £31bn of additional capital spending to areas critical to improving productivity.
• Launched the £9m Centre of Data Ethics and Innovation to act as an advisory body to Government and regulators on ethics of data and its use, including for AI.
• Launched the Patient Capital Fund, which will invest £2.5bn in our most innovative companies.

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