In response to the growing concern and uncertainty of the current situation regarding COVID-19, the BCRRE Rail Alliance remains focused on providing support, guidance and opportunities for its Community made up of close to 700 members

Importantly, our heartfelt wishes and commiseration go out to all families who have lost loved ones or who have worries about their relations or partners. Under normal circumstances, the BCRRE Rail Alliance would have been gearing itself up ready to exhibit at Infrarail and anticipating a very busy three days of meeting up with our Community and the wider railway family. In addition to Infrarail, we also had our calendar of traditional networking events planned and ready to go. 

However, while this is an incredibly challenging time for companies in the rail sector, as indeed it is for all sectors, we too have had to adapt and respond in new ways to ensure that we continue to support our Community and we recognise that if there was ever a time our help was really needed – this is it! 

You will see regular updates on our website with respect to business advice and opportunities from BEIS, as well as sector information and clarity from DfT; moreover, we make sure that all these updates are in effect timestamped so that you can easily see the most recently uploaded advice in this fast-changing world we are experiencing. 

 

Silver Membership – exclusive content for all of the Rail Alliance Community

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the BCRRE Rail Alliance has given all Community members access to exclusive, online, digital content, free of charge. 

This has been rapidly implemented so that the whole Community can utilise the platform to engage digitally, access content that would otherwise be a paid-for commodity, so that they can keep abreast of business opportunities and news. The BCRRE Rail Alliance will ensure that it continues to support the railway Community, especially SMEs, and help companies navigate the complex rail landscape during these particularly difficult circumstances. 

The BCRRE Rail Alliance has a number of webinars available to view online right now. Members can access sessions planned around decarbonisation, digitalisation and many more; additionally, we will be releasing short rail sector general knowledge videos aimed specifically at those companies new to rail or who are considering diversifying into rail. 

As part of a wider plan, membership packages have been categorised as Gold, Silver and Bronze in order to offer membership programmes tailored to business needs as follows: 

Gold membership reflects the traditional package previously offered by the Rail Alliance which includes access to all networking events in addition to the online portal. 

The Silver package is a new level of membership that can be taken advantage of by those organisations preferring to only access the online platform. The portal includes webinars and recorded events with the additional option of purchasing tickets to attend networking events, if they choose to. 

Bronze replaces the freemium option and provides companies an online presence on the Rail Alliance website directory and a subscription to the newsletter to keep-up to-date with industry news and events.

Alex Burrows, Managing Director BCRRE Rail Alliance comments about these membership packages: ‘The BCRRE Rail Alliance continues to be dedicated to meeting the needs of its Community and recognises this as an evolving set of needs and requirements. This move ensures that all members gain maximum value from being part of this proactive and engaged cluster of rail businesses.

‘We recognise that every company is in a difficult position right now and we want to extend our support to any organisation in our Community that needs it and try to get through this testing time together as best we can.

‘While we recognise that the current economic and social climate is very challenging and uncertain, our ability to remain agile as an organisation and rapidly adapt to these trying circumstances in a way that effectively serves the needs of the Rail Alliance Community is a testament to the qualities of the whole BCRRE team.

‘We are working on a number of initiatives that will engage the whole Community, allowing businesses to raise their concerns and questions, providing tools for learning and development, remain the point of contact to connect businesses together and establish new relationships and projects.’

BCRRE Rail Alliance – working closer together

An unexpected positive from this unprecedented time that has cast such a dark cloud over the world, the BCRRE Rail Alliance team is working closer together than ever before. 

The regular Zoom and Skype meetings that are taking place ensure that everyone is in one virtual room together which has been a refreshing change. These have given us a chance to get to know one-and-other even better and really pull together as a team in new ways. There is now greater cross-over taking place with the activities we are launching, including the BCRRE Research Café which brings the entire rail industry together including the BCRRE Rail Alliance Community.

The BCRRE Rail Research Café is an opportunity for our railway experts, academics, industry engagement staff, researchers, technical officers, lab experts and industry partners to share their experiences and involvement in a variety of research areas and innovative discoveries with the wider world.

So, how does the BCRRE Research Café work? Each Friday morning the BCRRE core team will post a blog on a specific theme, topic or subject area relevant to the rail industry. This may include past, present and future work, and is aimed at initiating questions and discussion. If you want to get involved, just send in your questions, thoughts and opinions to the team. You can do this either via the BCRRE blog page at blog.bham.ac.uk/bcrre or go to twitter @bcrre using the hashtag #BCRRERailResearchCafe. The BCRRE experts will be online to respond and discuss with you. The BCRRE Rail Research Café takes place every Friday morning between 10.00am and 12.00 noon on twitter using #BCRRERailReseachCafe. 

What next for BCRRE Rail Alliance?

The BCRRE Rail Alliance will be delivering more online content to the Community and has several events in the pipeline. These events will all be rolled out under a new banner name called ‘BCRRE Rail Alliance ONferences’ and will ensure that members still have access to all of the benefits enjoyed by the Community including networking, collaboration, business support, critical market intelligence and the latest information, research and innovation. We will run a programme of ONferences until we are able to reinstate our physical networking events.

   We are truly embracing this new way of online networking to deliver the latest content and information. It is a new experience for us as well and we ask for your patience as well as your help, commitment and feedback. However, we are already seeing the benefits in engaging this way with the success of the recent real-time online Q&A and the opportunity for members to speak to a wider audience that perhaps would not be possible during our physical networking events. 

    We are very aware of the difficulties that so many of the organisations with the Community now face, but where we can help to make difference, we make it our mission to do so and will continue to support our wonderful #RailwayFamily.

   For further information on the events and to take advantage of a FREE Silver Membership, go to www.railalliance.co.uk 

   Finally – we wish you all the best under the prevailing circumstances, please STAY SAFE!

Tel: 0121 414 4165

Email: [email protected] 

Visit: www.birmingham.ac.uk/railway