Colin Wood, Managing Director of Transportation at AECOM said:
“I am delighted to see that the Government Rail Strategy continues to build on a number of government, Network Rail and industry initiatives, such as the Hansford Review and devolution of route empowerment, to increase capacity and reliability, and to drive efficiency, with the very clear benefits of vertical integration. Indeed AECOM is already putting into practice the DfT’s strategic aspirations, for example with the SLC-AECOM joint venture in the West Midlands.
Network Rail’s developing role of System Operator is essential to maintain the effectiveness of a fully joined up and integrated national railway network. In these new franchises and oversight boards it is important to ensure considerations for freight are given the necessary priority – this is an area of real opportunity if System Operator drives prioritisation effectively.
The challenge for all of us in the industry is to ensure we build on this strategy with real impetus. Delivery of rail schemes is complex and challenging. Some of the opportunities identified for rail re-opening have been mooted for years, and others are recent proposals: we must create quick wins that demonstrate we can respond positively, with government, operators and Network Rail to get these schemes moving forward with real progress.
Innovation and technology progression will create a modern rail infrastructure of which the UK can be proud. Therefore we are pleased to see the recognition in the strategy for the UK Rail Research Innovation Network, of which we are a contributing industry partner. This network is already delivering measurable improvements in all aspects of rail infrastructure and operations through its bold and creative ideas.”