The Railway Industry Association (RIA) and Network Rail yesterday (19 October) welcomed some 150 suppliers to the launch of a new Industry SPEED Partnership.

At the launch event, suppliers were briefed on the ambition to build on Rail’s SPEED programme by deepening the involvement of suppliers. The vision of the new partnership is to create an ongoing cross industry collaboration involving Network Rail, suppliers and other rail stakeholders to challenge inefficiency and deliver better outcomes for all.

Keynote speakers included Christian Irwin (Director, Network Rail Investment Centre of Excellence), Rob Brighouse (Non-Executive Director, Network Rail), Rob McIntosh (Managing Director, Network Rail Eastern region), Cavendish Elithorn (Director, Department for Transport), Paul Harwood (Programme Director, GBRTT), Sue Millington (Head of Programme Management, Network Rail – Rail Investment Centre of Excellence), Jeremy Gerlis (Strategic Business Advisor, TCFB Ltd), and Rob Cairns (Capital Delivery Director, Network Rail Eastern region).

In addition to hearing from speakers, attendees took part in a series of workshops, where an opportunity was given to kick off the partnership by feeding in ideas on the barriers to saving time and money. These will now be developed in further work by the new partnership to identify tangible improvements.

The launch was hosted jointly by RIA and the Network Rail Investment Centre of Excellence, with David Clarke, Technical Director at RIA, and Mike Wright, Programme Director at the Rail Investment Centre of Excellence, leading the attendees through the day.

If suppliers who were not able to attend the launch want to get involved in the Industry SPEED Partnership they can register here to hear more about upcoming opportunities.

Network Rail representative Rob McIntosh, commented: “Rail SPEED has already had a significant impact in streamlining the client activity in developing investment projects and renewals. We are already seeing practical examples of a new and better way of working, which is driving improvements in the cost and delivery timescales of our projects. This is very welcome news for passengers, taxpayers and government and demonstrates our commitment to being good custodians of the public purse.  The opportunity and necessity now is to engage with the wider supply chain to bring in their knowledge and expertise and so I thank all those who contributed today and look forward to building an ongoing and deeper collaboration with suppliers.”

David Clarke, Technical Director at RIA, commented: “I am sure all of Network Rail’s suppliers will join me in welcoming this important next step towards in delivering on Rail SPEED. Suppliers of all sizes have huge expertise and innovative ideas which can be brought to bear on this challenge and so it hugely encouraging to see Network Rail actively reaching out to the supply chain and seeking to establish an ongoing cross industry collaboration. RIA is delighted to support this important initiative as it is vital for the health of the whole rail industry that we deliver as efficiently as possible”