Rail Industry Health Checker - Industry

UK: Confidence in the rail supply industry has returned to pre-2019 levels according to the Railway Industry Association, which commissioned Savanta to undertake a survey of 265 rail industry leaders during October.

This found that:

  • optimism about the supply industry has returned to 2019 levels after a sharp dip in 2020, with 45% predicting growth in the coming year. The proportion predicting a contraction has fallen from 36% in 2020 to 31%;
  • 60% of rail industry leaders predict growth at their own businesses in the coming year, compared to 51% in 2020 and 59% in 2019;
  • 42% say the easing of coronavirus restrictions has improved their business outlook, while just 6% say the easing of restrictions has made their outlook worse.

‘With passenger numbers coming back to the network, reaching around 65% only a few months after restrictions have eased, and freight returning to 100% of pre-pandemic levels, it is clear that rail has a strong future ahead of it’, said RIA Chief Executive Darren Caplan. ’The industry can play a key part in the government’s “build back better” agenda, supporting economic growth, investment and jobs at this critical time for the economy.

Rail Industry Health Checker 2

’However, we can’t take our foot off the pedal when it comes to rail investment — even in 2019, there was a significant amount of uncertainty for the industry, with an upcoming general election, Brexit yet to be resolved and the status of projects like High Speed 2 still uncertain. So, whilst we should welcome that optimism is returning, more can still be done to increase sector confidence in the months and years ahead.

Rail Industry Health Checker - Covid

‘We urge government to provide the visibility the industry requires, including publishing the Integrated Rail Plan and Rail Network Enhancements Pipeline, setting out how it intends to decarbonise and digitalise the rail network, supporting rail exports and confirming the status of upcoming projects like the HS2 Phase 2b Eastern Leg, Northern Powerhouse Rail, Midlands Rail Hub and many other schemes.’