UK: Supply industry cluster Rail Alliance is to host networking events at the forthcoming Railtex 2017 trade fair in Birmingham on behalf of the Midlands Engine initiative.

Backed by businesses, local authorities and 11 Local Enterprise Partnerships, Midlands Engine is looking to make the East and West Midlands region ‘an engine for growth for the UK economy’. It is supported by the government through a £5m trade and investment package in order to attract inward investment and boost exports.

According to Rail Alliance, promoting trade and attracting investment is critical for the region’s rail industry. The local supply chain includes expertise in rolling stock design, development and manufacturing, light rail, infrastructure and signalling, while a number of leading universities and research institutes are backed by the government through the Midlands network of Catapult Innovation Centres.

The region is currently benefiting from significant rail investment, including High Speed 2 and Midland Metro expansion. Meanwhile, the Midland Connect initiative is seeking greater devolution in the specification and oversight of local rail services as part of the Department for Transport’s passenger franchising programme.

At Railtex, Rail Alliance will be providing opportunities for exhibitors and visitors to learn more about Midlands Engine and get involved with the initiative. This includes a networking breakfast on May 9 with representatives from the Department for International Trade and a business investment lunch on May 10.