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Investment in UK rail manufacturing to increase, TE Connectivity survey finds

6 June 2013  •  Author: Prosek Partners

As the United Kingdom’s rail industry pushes forward with large-scale projects such as the £32bn Manchester high-speed rail line and the £15bn Crossrail project, the focus on expanding and enhancing the rail infrastructure in the UK is clear. A survey released today by leading connectivity solution provider TE Connectivity reveals that the majority of rail industry experts (72 percent of survey respondents) anticipate that investment in UK-based rail engineering and project management will increase in the next one to three years, given the funds allocated to building out the rail system in the UK.

When asked why UK manufacturing and design is the preferred choice over foreign-based (non-UK) alternatives, more than half (53 percent) of those surveyed considered the key benefits provided to be local expertise and an on-the-ground local project manager. Other benefits included the offer of continued service over the lifetime of the product (19 percent), higher quality of products/systems (14 percent), and more value for the money in the long term (10 percent). The survey, conducted on May 1 and 2 at the 2013 Railtex Conference in London, examined the outlook from UK rail industry experts, focusing on anticipated investments in both UK and foreign-based manufacturing.

Peter Van Loo, director of general management, TE Rail, commented on the findings: “The level of investment available from the UK rail industry is at an all-time high, and the number of large-scale projects currently taking shape in the UK market creates a natural demand for rail products and systems. The survey results show us where industry experts are looking to invest their money. This is a fantastic opportunity for UK-based manufacturers to lead the charge on supplying high-quality products with the local expertise that only UK companies can offer.”

Additionally, nearly all (86 percent) of UK rail industry experts polled believe that the investment in purchasing rail systems from foreign companies will continue to increase due to: reduced initial cost of the foreign products/systems (54 percent), preference lying with foreign-based expertise (21 percent), and positive previous experience of foreign products/systems (18 percent).

Van Loo added, “As the results show, rail industry experts will continue to look abroad as well as in their home market, and UK manufacturers must differentiate themselves to become the industry leaders.”

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