Welcome to the December 2023 issue of our e-newsletter!

Welcome to the December 2023 issue of our e-newsletter where you can read about industry events and publications as well as activities that the Rail Cluster project is leading or supporting.

New members
A warm welcome to new members of the Rail Cluster this month:

Rail Cluster project in numbers
  • 701* registered individuals
  • 592 registered companies
  • 280 registered SMEs
*Number of registered individuals has reduced due to the removal of invalid email addresses.

1-2-1 sessions
We continue to speak with our members in 1-2-1 sessions. These are incredibly useful for us to make sure we provide the right support where needed and make connections with the most beneficial resources. It's important to us to connect with as many members as possible so please do get in touch with us and let us know how we can help – shonaclive@scottishengineering.org.uk.

Inclusion in future issues
If you have any feedback or suggestions for inclusion in future issues, please do get in touch by emailing shonaclive@scottishengineering.org.uk or by calling Shona Clive on 07967 366731.  This could be from a rail sector organisation or an SME.  Perhaps a project success, innovation, milestone that you want to share, particularly if it supports the aims of the Rail Services Decarbonisation Action Plan.

Request for photography
If you have any company photographs that we could use for rail cluster collateral, we would love to hear from you.  We would use in various communications such as reports, or the rail cluster web pages and any other promotional materials and we would always credit you when using your images.  We would welcome images from all areas of the rail sector in Scotland; infrastructure, rolling stock, freight, train operating company images etc. so please get in touch if you have any images that you would be happy for us to use – shonaclive@scorttishengineering.org.uk.

1. Industry news


HS2’s £1bn boost for British businesses: Scottish companies urged to take a greater share

Over 3,200 companies are already delivering goods and materials to help build HS2, Britain’s new railway. To enhance the prospect of even more local firms winning a share of the work, HS2 has published details of over 300 work packages its construction partners will procure in the next 18 months.

The contract opportunities, collectively worth over £1bn, give a heads up to potential suppliers looking to boost their order books and grow their business in the year ahead.

HS2’s procurement pipeline sets out the estimated contract value, procurement start date and location for each package of work, so businesses can quickly gauge their interest months before procurement begins. Contact details for HS2’s six construction partners are also provided, and speculative conversations are encouraged to help prospective bidders understand the detailed requirements.

Subcontract opportunities are posted on the HS2 supplier platform CompeteFor approximately two weeks before the procurement process begins. Companies of all sizes, across the UK, can register their interest in winning work with HS2 and its contractors by registering their details on the platform. For information and advice about becoming an HS2 supplier, read HS2’s Supplier Guide.

Scottish businesses encouraged to take part
£11.5bn worth of contracts have been awarded by HS2’s first phase construction partners since 2016, but the amount awarded to Scottish firms lags behind other UK regions.

To date, just 56 Scottish companies have secured a share of tier two contracts worth £137m, while businesses in the west Midlands, south east and east of England have each netted more than £1bn worth of work.

HS2 is therefore urging more Scottish firms to take action now, before the contracts are released next year, and register their details on its supplier platform, CompeteFor.

Perthshire-based Rail Cluster member Zappshelter, which provides bespoke storage solutions and undercover work spaces, seized the chance to install its products at HS2 construction sites across the west Midlands.

Hydrogen Expert Support from Scottish Enterprise

Scottish Enterprise offer hydrogen expert support to companies that want to grow by moving into the emerging hydrogen sector. Their industry specialists can help your business, no matter its size or type.

Scottish Enterprise experts can help you to:

  • Understand if your company's capabilities can be transferred to the hydrogen sector to expand your market
  • Understand the potential benefits of turning to hydrogen, such as the ability to maintain or increase your turnover, workforce, and facilities
  • Increase your presence and manufacturing capabilities, if already in the hydrogen market, either through market analysis or due diligence on your product or service
Please note, the closing date for applications is 1st February 2024.

Head to the website to download an application form.

Rail Funding and Engagement Opportunities

Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain, Innovation Manager at East West Rail, has very kindly put together a list of the latest funding and engagement opportunities within the Rail sector, shared with her LinkedIn network.

These opportunities include a range of funding support across numerous topics and sectors, as well as contract opportunities in the UK and abroad.

Click the link below to view the list. 

Network Rail Awards Contracts for Electrification of East Kilbride Line

Network Rail has awarded contracts valued at 61.5 million GBP for the delivery of the East Kilbride Enhancement Project in Scotland.

The contracts have been awarded to Story Contracting, AmcoGiffen, SPL Powerlines, Siemens, Rail Systems Alliance Scotland and WSP to deliver 22.4 single-track kilometres of electrified railway.

This is part of the Scottish Government’s plans to decarbonise passenger rail stations across the nation.

The work on the East Kilbride corridor will be completed over the next two years and will include:

  • Electrification of the route between East Kilbride and Glasgow
  • A relocated accessible station at Hairmyres
  • An upgraded, accessible station at East Kilbride
  • Accessibility works at other stations
  • A 1.4-kilometre extension of the existing loop at Hairmyres
Main construction works will start in early 2024. In the meantime, engineers are currently carrying out ground investigation works on the line, with bridge clearance works due to take place at the end of the year.

Following the completion of this project in December 2025, electric services will be introduced on the East Kilbride line.

ORR’s Periodic Review 2023 – Final Determination for Scotland Webinar slides

Periodic reviews are one of the principal mechanisms by which ORR holds Network Rail to account, and secures value for money for users and funders of the railway.

PR23 will determine what Network Rail must deliver in control period 7 (CP7) and the funding it requires to do this.

ORR have published the slides from their webinar which presented the Periodic Review 2023 findings and their final determination for Scotland.

See these and the full report below.

Thousands of railway workers utilise SWGR’s free health check service

Infrastructure specialist and rail cluster member SWGR has announced that more than 5,300 colleagues have utilised its free health check service brought directly to the frontline thanks to significant investments in recent years on Mobile Health, Safety and Wellbeing Units.

SWGR made the move to bring health and safety checks to rail worksites in order to support not only its own colleagues, but also clients, stakeholders and supply chain partners working anywhere in the vicinity of its units, as it recognised that rail industry colleagues were not utilising the service that was being afforded in offices.

By increasing accessibility, SWGR has now completed more than 5,300 free health checks and have helped to support rail industry colleagues with health and mental wellbeing support and significantly reduce potential incidents and accidents happening on the railway that may have been caused by these factors had they not been identified.

Fully equipped with specialist testing equipment, and supported by medically trained team members, the service has redefined the way that health and wellbeing is embraced and accessible to frontline teams and emphasised the need for us all to think about our individual health and wellbeing. As a result, it has been shared as best practice by organisations such as Network Rail.

The service has been such a success in the regions in which SWGR operates, that various organisations including Network Rail have engaged with SWGR to offer and gain support for this significant initiative.

Scottish Parliament report calls for urgent action on zero-carbon public transport

Prioritising electrification of the rail network so there are as few gaps as possible is among the list of recommendations for the Scottish Government by a cross-party group which is looking to reduce transport emissions.

The Sustainable Transport Cross Party Group (CPC) has published its findings into decarbonising Scotland’s fleets of buses, trains and ferries. It has found that a country-wide transition to zero-carbon public transport would allow the country to become both self-sufficient and a net exporter of alternative fuels and associated skills and expertise.

The inquiry was conducted in response to widespread concerns that progress against the government’s climate targets is falling behind.

The key themes emerging from the evidence presented to the inquiry were:
-The need for clear and consistent policy signals and financial incentives.
-The role of decarbonisation in assisting with modal shift objectives.
-How ending fossil fuel reliance in public transport will benefit Scotland’s low-carbon industrial strategy.
-The need to enhance knowledge-sharing amongst operators and industries.

SPT to lead development of Case for Investment for Clyde Metro plans

Glasgow City Council Leader Susan Aitkin has announced, at the State of the City Economy Conference, that Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) will lead the development of the Case For Investment (CFI) for the Clyde Metro project.

At the same time, SPT also presented a paper to its Partnership at its Strategy and Programmes Committee outlining its preparatory workstreams in support of Clyde Metro.

The CFI is the next key stage in the development of Clyde Metro and will set out the Strategic Business Case for the project and arrangements for the initial delivery phases. It will also take forward work to improve sustainable transport access to Glasgow Airport, and longer-term plans for future phases of the Metro.

Clyde Metro brings together SPT, Glasgow City Council for Glasgow City Region, and Transport Scotland to look at a long-term integrated approach to transport infrastructure and services across the region. It will also look at urban development regeneration as part of plans to deliver wider transformation benefits to housing, place-making, sustainability, economy, environment, health and social strategies.

Billions of investment for British manufacturing to boost economic growth

The government has announced £4.5 billion in funding for British manufacturing to increase investment in eight sectors across the UK. The funding will be available from 2025 for five years, providing industry with longer term certainty about their investments.

  • £4.5 billion for strategic manufacturing sectors including £960 million earmarked for clean energy
  • Funding will be delivered to eight sectors key to economic growth, energy security, and levelling-up
  • Part of wider government support to ensure UK is the best place to start, grow, and invest in manufacturing
Over £2 billion has been earmarked for the automotive industry and £975 million for aerospace, supporting the manufacturing, supply chain and development of zero emission vehicles, and investment in energy efficient and zero-carbon aircraft equipment. 

Alongside this, the government has committed to £960 million for a Green Industries Growth Accelerator to support clean energy manufacturing, and £520 million for life sciences manufacturing to build resilience for future health emergencies and capitalise on the UK’s world-leading research and development.

With the entire manufacturing sector making up over 43% of all UK exports and employing around 2.6 million people, this funding is targeted at the UK’s strongest, world leading sectors; including where the industry is undergoing fundamental changes to remain at the forefront of the global transition to net zero, like the move to zero emission vehicles in the automotive industry.

Rail industry continues pandemic recovery with increased fares revenue and reduced government support

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) has published its annual Rail Industry Finance (UK) statistical report.

The report shows the income, expenditure and government funding of the UK rail industry for the financial year 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2023.

The latest year saw the introduction of services to the central section of the Elizabeth line generating additional revenue for the industry. However, industrial action across Great Britain resulted in fewer train services than anticipated. Despite this, passenger revenues continued to recover from the impact of the pandemic and government financial support to the industry reduced.

The key findings include:

  • A total of 1.4 billion journeys were made in Great Britain. This is 40% more than the previous year with rail usage continuing to recover from the impact of the pandemic and the central section of the Elizabeth line beginning operations. Annual passenger journeys were approximately 80% of the 1.7 billion journeys made between April 2019 and March 2020 (pre-pandemic).
  • Fares income in the latest year was £8.6 billion. Adjusted for inflation, this is an increase of 34% (£2.2 billion) from the previous year (April 2021 to March 2022), due to the increase in passenger journeys. However, usage and therefore revenue, was adversely affected by 29 days of industrial action in the year.
  • The rail industry as a whole received £22.7 billion of operational income in the latest year (April 2022 to March 2023), and while journeys made increased, the inflation adjusted value of industry income fell by £0.8 billion (3%).
  • Governments contributed £11.9 billion to the day-to-day operations of the railway in the latest year, a drop of £2.7 billion (19%) from the previous year. Government funding is now at just over half (52%) of operational income.
  • Operational industry expenditure increased by 1% to £25.4 billion but excluding financing costs decreased by 4% to £21.3 billion.
  • Investment in new and enhanced rail infrastructure and rolling stock increased to £9.7 billion, an increase of £1.2 billion (15%), largely due to continued investment in High Speed 2 (HS2) at £6.9 billion in the latest year.
  • Total public funding for rail operations as well as infrastructure enhancements was £21.1 billion. This consisted of £11.9 billion for day-to-day operations, £6.9 billion towards the continued development of HS2, £2.0 billion for infrastructure and enhancements initiatives, £0.3 billion of miscellaneous support and £0.1 billion for East West Rail.

Hitachi Rail pioneers world first declaration to track the ethical life cycle of trains

Hitachi Rail says it is the first manufacturer in the world to be able to track not just the environmental impacts of its products, but also the social impacts via a Social Product Declaration (SPD).

The rail firm has successfully completed a ground breaking Social Product Declaration for it Masaccio hybrid trains, which tracks their ethical life cycle. The pioneering system that Hitachi Rail has developed with EDP International, records all the work done by the suppliers across the entire value chain – and evaluates their social performance and adherence to modern, ethical working practices, including employee safety, fair salaries, gender equality, labour laws and rule of law.

This evaluation process spans the entire 30 to 40 year life cycle of a train – from design, sourcing of materials and manufacturing to decommissioning and recycling. The system enables Hitachi Rail to give operators and passengers confidence that the manufacturer – and its network of suppliers – followed ethical and socially responsible working practices.

For many years, Hitachi Rail has calculated the environmental impact of its trains, including the energy they consume, the emissions they produce and the ability to recycle materials at the end of their life. This has allowed the company to drive up sustainability standards – optimising efficiency, reducing emissions to zero and achieving 95 percent or higher recyclability for its modern electric trains. Through this commitment to reporting, the business was also recently able to achieve the rigorous PAS 2080 carbon reduction standard for the design, manufacture, and operation of Britain’s HS2 fleet. PAS 2080 is globally recognised as one of the leading environmental standards in infrastructure design and manufacturing, and Hitachi Rail’s accreditation is the first time it has successfully been applied to rail.

Hitachi Rail designed its new Social Product Declaration in accordance with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). With over 20,000 suppliers in its supply chain Hitachi Rail will create an automated platform to manage the information gathering and certification for future fleets.

Young Rail Professionals’ Awards open for nominations

Nominations are open for next year’s Young Rail Professionals’ (YRP) Annual Awards. There are eight categories, including three new awards, to recognise the achievements of talented and passionate professionals at varying stages of their careers.

The awards up for grabs are:
-Young Rail Personality of the Year
-Distinguished Service Award
-Young Rail Professional of the Year
-Apprentice of the Year
-Mentor of the Year
-Employer of the Year (SME)
-Employer of the Year
-Volunteer of the Year

The closing date for entries is Monday, January 8th. Awards will be presented at the Annual Dinner on March 14th, 2024 at The Troxy, Whitechapel in London.

NSAR’s mentoring programme leads the way towards best-in-class safety-critical rail training

NSAR has developed a new mentoring programme dedicated to improving the quality of training and assessment for safety-critical rail roles. NSAR developed the 3-week long programme in collaboration with training provider Bridgeway. The programme has proved so successful with Bridgeway’s trainers that the company want to roll out the programme to all its newly assured personnel.

The new mentoring programme will have a dramatic impact on the quality of training and assessment and is set to pave the way for a new industry-wide accreditation process for safety-critical rail training.

The programme has three distinct week-long sections. Firstly, classroom-based learning on safety-critical compliance, procedures and standards involving the Rail Training Accreditation Scheme (RTAS) rules. Secondly, live ‘trackside walkouts’ at two different sites, allowing trainers to embed the technical criteria involved in the RTAS approved material. Thirdly, back to the classroom to test, develop and refine the trainer’s delivery skills using pragmatic scenario-based case studies. The programme concludes with an adjudication panel consisting of leading industry coaching and compliance experts from NSAR and Network Rail.

National Transport Strategy: Publication of third Delivery Plan and Report to Parliament

The third Delivery Plan for the National Transport Strategy has been published, which outlines the actions the Scottish Government has taken to deliver the vision and priorities in 2023 and what actions will be undertaken in the coming year, including active travel investment, infrastructure projects, concessionary travel and range of projects across all modes.

Alongside the Delivery Plan, the first Report to Parliament has also be published, setting out the steps the Scottish Government has taken in delivering the National Transport Strategy since it was launched in February 2020.

The 2024 everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards are now open for entries

The 2024 everywoman in Transport & Logistics Awards, launched to inspire more women to progress careers in the industry, are open for nominations until 29 January 2024.

Now in their 17th year, these awards shine a spotlight on the varied and increasing avenues of opportunities available in the traditionally male-dominated industry and celebrate the important role that women play within it. In doing so, the programme aims to help increase the number of women working within this pivotal industry, who only account for 21 percent of the industry’s 1.5million employees.

Despite the strides made, the transport and logistics industry continues to face challenges in attracting and retaining female talent. everywoman recognizes the critical importance of diversity in driving innovation, efficiency, and sustainability. Studies consistently demonstrate that diverse teams foster greater creativity, problem-solving abilities, and overall success within organisations.

2. Industry events


Save the date: 4th July welcomes Rolling Stock Networking 2024 back to Derby Arena

In an industry where connections drive progress, rail professionals are urged to mark their calendars for the Rolling Stock Networking (RSN) 2024 event which takes place on 4th July in Derby, UK.

With a stellar lineup of 160 exhibitors, the Rail Partners Conference, and Supplier Engagement Opportunities, RSN 2024 promises to be a day jam packed with networking, innovation, and business opportunities.

Showcasing Excellence
The annual RSN event is renowned for its high-quality footfall, offering a platform for industry leaders, experts, and enthusiasts to converge. Attendees can explore a diverse range of exhibits, from higher technology product manufacturers like Petards, Televic GSP, R2P, and Infodev EDI, showcasing information systems and passenger counting systems, to innovators such as Orange Train Wash with Akriveia and Amygda presenting new inventions and digital services.

Notably, CAF and Stadler will lead the new builder presence, joined by other industry stalwarts such as Harting, AURA Brand Solutions, Unipart Rail, LPA, Gimota, Icomera, DG8, Oleo, TVS SCS, CB Frost, DB ESG, I M Kelly R&A, Sabre Rail with CWE, FISA, and many more. The Enigma Seven Zone will also feature a spectrum of dependable products and services essential for the railway industry.

Bringing the Rail Industry Together
Beyond the exhibition floor, RSN 2024 offers the Rail Partners Conference and Supplier Engagement Opportunities, providing a platform for thought leaders to share insights. Exhibitors can participate in the Jobson James Rail “Meet the Buyer” event and delegates can engage with Trade Body activities, fostering an environment where contacts are made, relationships are built, and business flourishes.

Limited Space – Act Now
With limited spaces available and the anticipation of a high-demand event, the organisers urge interested parties to secure their space promptly. Main floor stand spaces are available for £1,100, while smaller companies can benefit from the Enterprise Zone at £600. Given the event’s popularity, it is advised to book in advance to guarantee participation.

The Rail Cluster Hub is your place to connect and collaborate with other companies within the rail sector, as well as keeping up to date with industry events and publications. Browse the directory to see which companies are part of the Rail Cluster or start a coversation in our forum. 
As a Rail Cluster member you may have an existing account - use your email address to set a new password if required. 
The Rail Cluster Builder project Phase 2 was awarded by Scottish Enterprise to Scottish Engineering in July 2022.  Supported by Transport Scotland and Skills Development Scotland, Phase 2 is a three year project following on from Phase 1 and its purpose is to facilitate connections for SMEs in the engineering and manufacturing sectors in Scotland seeking to diversify into the rail market.  The project is also part of efforts to make Scotland a world leader in creating net zero emissions railways with ambitious targets set by the Scottish Government in its Rail Services Decarbonisation Action Plan to decarbonise Scotland’s rail services by 2035. 

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