3 February 2021: The Railway Industry Association’s (RIA) Unlocking Innovation programme returns next week, to look at how rail can Build Back Better and will hear from an exciting line-up of speakers.

The event series will take place from 9-12 February at the joint Rail Innovation Exhibition organised with RIA, KTN, Innovate UK and the Department for Transport (DfT). The Rail Innovation Exhibition 2021 will provide attendees with the opportunity to hear from leaders across the sector on the challenges for the future and for suppliers to showcase their innovations.

The agenda and speaker line-up will be as follows:

  • Wednesday 10 Feb – 13:00-15:00 – Open Networking and Collaboration Building Sessions
  • Thursday 11 Feb – 10:00-12:00 – Unlocking Innovation Building Back Better for the passenger
    • Speakers: Anthony Smith, Chief Executive at Transport Focus; Charlene Wallace, National Passenger Operations and Customer Director at Network Rail; Loraine Martins OBE, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Network Rail; and Dr Simon Blainey, Associate Professor in Transportation at the University of Southampton.
  • Thursday 11 Feb 13:00-15:00 – Future of Stations Roundtable and workshop
    • Doug Paulley, Independent disability rights activist; Scott Green, Manchester Piccadilly Station Manager at Network Rail; Andrew Woods, Digitalisation and Innovation Strategy Lead at Siemens Mobility; Simon Elliott, Head of Rail Programme at Transport for Greater Manchester; and representatives from Northern Rail and RSSB tbc.
  • Friday 12 Feb – 10:00-12:00 – UKRRIN and the Customer Experience
    • Sharon Odetunde, Head of Academic Partnerships at RSSB; Alex Burrows, Managing Director at Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education (BCRRE); William Powrie, Professor of Geotechnical Engineering at the University of Southampton; Mike Bradley, Senior Research Associate in Inclusive Design at the University of Cambridge; and Luisa Moisio, R&D Programme Director, RSSB.
  • Friday 12 Feb – 13:00:15:00 – The Future of Rolling Stock Roundtable
    • Angie Doll, Managing Director at Southern Railways and Gatwick Express; Neil Ovenden, Head of engineering at the Rail Delivery Group; Will Tanner, Bombardier; Jim Brewin, UK Country Lead at Hitachi; representatives from EPTO, Northern Rail and RSSB tbc.


RIA’s Unlocking Innovation brings together innovators, clients and policymakers from across the sector and beyond, to showcase some of the leading technologies and projects in rail, and help companies overcome obstacles to innovation. Network Rail R&D portfolio and the UK Rail Research and Innovation Network (UKRRIN) are strategic partners for the programme.

Milda Manomaityte, Senior Policy and Technical Manager at RIA, commented: “It is brilliant to be back with our next Unlocking Innovation event series and to continue working with our strategic partners for the programme, Network Rail’s R&D Portfolio and UKRRIN. We are also happy to be partnering with KTN, Innovate UK and DfT to deliver a joined up Rail Innovation Exhibition.

Our Unlocking Innovation events will take a close look at how, as we recover from the Coronavirus pandemic, innovation can help the UK rail sector to build back better, with customer experience and accessibility at the forefront of what we do. The events will provide the opportunity for suppliers to present their innovative solutions to key ‘challenge owners’ such as Network Rail and operators, as well as feature interactive networking opportunities.

We hope you can join us for these exciting events, they are not be missed!”

David Rowe, Head of Rail Technology – R&D Portfolio at Network Rail, said: “Supporting the Railway Industry Association’s Unlocking Innovation programme, and through it the rail supply community, is an important part of our ambitions at Network Rail to put the passenger at the heart of the UK’s railways. We are therefore delighted to be taking part in the Rail Innovation Exhibition and we look forward to engaging with the range of businesses at the event who are leading UK rail’s innovation work.”

Professor Clive Roberts, Director of the Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, and UKRRIN Centre for Excellence for Digital Systems Lead: “The Rail Innovation Exhibition and the Unlocking Innovation sessions will be a great opportunity to bring together leading innovators in the rail industry and we are thrilled to be taking part. At UKRRIN, we believe that ensuring that our railways are passenger-focused and accessible to all will be vital for the future, and we will continue to work with our partners, including RIA and Network Rail, to help make this possible.”