Rail Alliance manages the testing and production site at Long Marston, a former military storage facility, which is home to Vivarail and a number of other suppliers.

UK: Trade association Rail Alliance and Birmingham Centre for Railway Research & Education announced the formal integration of the two organisations on March 11.

The merger is intended to foster a closer partnership between the supply industry and academia to support a more focused approach to railway research, fostering closer links between small and medium sized businesses in the UK and global research activity. Rail Alliance is already active in fostering access by SMEs to international markets through the European Railway Clusters Initiative.

Members of the Rail Alliance community will be encouraged to engage directly with BCRRE specialists via the research centre’s Edgbaston campus at the University of Birmingham. Small businesses will be able to take advantage of assistance in bringing innovation to market, as well as being offered access to physical test and trial facilities.

‘This is a golden opportunity for the rail industry, especially SMEs, bringing together a wide range of talents in one team that combines world-leading capabilities across a large number of research areas with real industry expertise and know-how’, explained Alex Burrows, Managing Director, BCRRE and Rail Alliance. ‘This is an extremely compelling offer that brings significant opportunities to all parts of the rail supply industry.’

Businesses will no longer be charged a formal membership fee to join Rail Alliance, but they must demonstrate what the partners term ‘a genuine interest in growing their business in rail as well as supporting the UK rail supply industry’.