Whether you’re one for resolutions or not, you can’t deny there’s a renewed sense of optimism that comes when you emerge from the Christmas slumber and step – suitably refreshed – into the new year.
That’s if you weren’t one of the 25,000 who sacrificed good food, festivities and family time to labour on when the network is at its quietest. If you were, a special thank you goes out to you – I hope you’ve had the chance to recharge your batteries.
I’m sure the same is said every year, but 2019 truly promises to be a big year for rail. The onset of CP6 in April combined with construction work beginning on HS2, East West Rail and the London Overground extension to Barking Riverside, as well as the introduction of some 7,000 new vehicles, means there is more than usual to get excited by in the year ahead.
With these unprecedented levels of investment, all eyes will be on the major rail exhibitions to see what innovative new solutions the supply chain can come up with. Railtex, held biennially in Birmingham, returns in May and the newly launched rail civils show Railworx, part of the successful construction event Plantworx, will open its doors for the first time at the East of England Arena, Peterborough in June.
The outcome of the Williams Review, which promises to deliver industry reform, should not be forgotten, neither should the full opening of the Elizabeth line in the autumn and then there’s the small matter of Brexit…
This issue, our first of 2019, reflects on successes from Christmas – both on and off the track – and in January, stories of individuals coming together to bring about positive change for the people, passengers and communities around them.
RailStaff also sat down with Great British Bake Off runner-up Ruby Bhogal at the start of the year. Described as a project manager by Channel 4, national newspapers came close to nailing Ruby’s employer but incorrectly stated it was London Underground, so we took a trip down to London to fill in the numerous blanks.
A great champion of the industry, Ruby has worked on Crossrail and Thameslink and has had a bumpy path to where she is now but wants to use her new platform to encourage others – particularly women – into the sector.
We hope that Ruby’s story provides some inspiration for taking on the challenges facing the country’s railways in 2019 and to seize the opportunities to make a difference, as demonstrated by so many of the stories in this issue – and when you do, don’t forget to let us know about it!
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