HomeRail NewsGaining rail business advantage in Britain

Gaining rail business advantage in Britain

Expanding investment in the rail industry offers challenges and opportunities for rail businesses.

The Rail Industry Contractors’ Association is all set to help small and medium businesses get ahead. Network Rail has recently announced its investment plans for the next Regulatory Control Period, 2014-2019 (CP5). The level of investment is huge and clearly demonstrates the importance of railways to the British economy.

The Secretary of State for Transport has reinforced the importance of this role and stated that rail will be at the forefront of the Government’s transport policy. Railways will continue to make a significant contribution to the twin goals of economic growth and carbon reduction.

Value for money

Alongside this investment and support comes a demand for improved value for money, action to reduce costs and to significantly improve the affordability of the railway. Network Rail is undertaking cultural and structural change to meet this challenge. A major programme is well underway to devolve decision making and accountability to Route based operational business units.

These business units will be accountable for rail operations, maintenance, asset management and for the delivery of small and medium size projects. A key objective for these units is that they interact with local suppliers wherever possible.

Difficult challenges

This is an exciting time for the rail industry and a time of real opportunity for suppliers but with this comes some difficult challenges for all small and medium sized companies; how to interpret the industry strategy in relation to your company skills; how to determine Network Rail’s initiatives and requirements and how to actually get involved.

This is where the Rail Industry Contractors’ Association (RICA) can make a vital contribution to your company’s success. RICA has the key objectives of supporting the interests of its members, building strong communication processes and working relationships with Network Rail and other significant railway organisations and contributing to improvements to safety systems and performance.

Real success

RICA can rightly claim real success in meeting these objectives. Led by Mick Martin, formerly a director at Network Rail, RICA has a membership elected board of directors with exceptional railway experience and background. RICA can provide significant support to all companies whether already working in the industry or for those seeking to enter the sector.

The guest speaker list from recent quarterly meetings is impressive and illustrates the position that RICA has gained in the industry. Speakers included Sir David Higgins, chief executive of Network Rail and Simon Kirby, infrastructure projects director at Network Rail.

Additionally, we have had presentations from Network Rail directors and senior staff responsible for all of the railway engineering disciplines and updates from managers of most of the major projects.


Our members consider these sessions invaluable in terms of understanding the forward needs and requirements of Network Rail and in giving real context to how they might position their business to best advantage.

Actively involved

Equally importantly, RICA is heavily involved in working with the key industry bodies on operational and safety issues. Our members are actively involved in all of the key developments that have a significant impact on the way that we undertake operational activity.

Collectively, our members have extensive knowledge and experience of railway operations and we always aim to offer the benefit of our advice in the development stage of new systems and control processes.

Safer and more profitable

Currently, RICA has representation on the project boards for Sentinel 2, Link up, OLE resourcing, Safety Enhancements, Rail Training Organisation development and commercial changes through the Commercial Directors Forum. Our direct involvement enables us to keep all member companies informed of coming changes and developments

It is widely recognised that having RICA involved in decision making through giving strong practical advice and guidance, has resulted in significant developments and improvements in our industry.

Your choice is simple, find your own way through our complex and fast moving industry or join RICA and make the best of our first class experience, communication, contacts and working relationships.

Don’t allow your organisation to miss out on the latest business opportunities. Join the organisation that is focussed on making things safer and more profitable for the SME community.


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