* indicates required

Rail industry is on track for 21st century transformation, says forum

The Supplying the 21st Century Railway event takes place at the newly opened National Training Academy for Rail in Northampton.

It aims to highlight the innovation and supply chain opportunities emerging on the back of this unprecedented growth and to encourage Northamptonshire’s engineering and technologies companies to get involved and lend expertise.

The UK rail industry is undergoing its biggest transformation programme in over a century. More than £38 billion will be spent between 2014-2019 to maintain and improve the network and senior industry representatives will meet Northamptonshire companies this week to describe the opportunity this presents, and to learn about Northamptonshire’s technology, engineering capability and expertise.

The forum has been organised by the High Performance Technology Sector Strategy Board set up by Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership, working in partnership with the Rail Supply Group and Future Railway.

Speakers include rail Original Equipment Manufacturers Alstom and Siemens, together with UKTram, Rail Alliance, Railway Industry Association, Manufacturing Advisory Service and local rail supplier Harting UK.

Focus areas will include UK market structures and drivers, supply chain opportunities for SMEs in both heavy and light rail, unlocking innovation and exporting.

NEP’s high performance technology business relationshiop manager Julia Schumacher said: “The growth within the Rail industry requires new innovations and new cutting edge technologies to bring the industry in line with 21st-century expectations of performance and delivery.

“Northamptonshire has well-established expertise within high performance engineering, at the moment predominantly within the motorsport and automotive sectors. 

"NEP is keen to bring these industries together to explore the many cross sector opportunities that exist, and to help facilitate new business development for the HPT supply chain.”

Colin Flack, Rail Supply Group Secretariat and chief executive of Rail Alliance, said: “There has never been a better time to get involved with the rail sector. The scale of potential investment and opportunity it now offers to businesses outside of the industry is huge and diverse.

“The level of innovation of modern technologies perpetuated not least by Northamptonshire performance technology businesses is an attractive prospect to the rail industry which is on the brink of major technological change.

“It is the ideal time to bring these industries together.”