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European Infrastructure Managers Association - Articles and news items

Driving infrastructure value through collaboration

Issue 6 2012 / 29 November 2012 /

The railway industry in Britain continues to be characterised by substantial growth in ridership and in major investment programmes. Infrastructure investment in the mainline railway is undertaken predominantly by two main parties working together: the infrastructure manager, Network Rail, as clients, and its extensive supply chain. More than 170 supply companies of all sizes and disciplines are members of the UK railway supply industry’s representative body, the Railway Industry Association (RIA). Increasingly over recent years, Network Rail (NR) and RIA have pursued an agenda of fostering collaboration between each other collectively and between NR and individual supply companies. This joint article summarises some of the key elements of what has been done at the collective level in GB and internationally.

Background to collaboration: One of the key strategic themes RIA has been pursuing for many years is the need to improve efficiency in the UK rail industry by moving away from the traditional adversarial supply-chain relationships to a much more collaborative and mutually beneficial approach. The 2011 McNulty Report, commissioned jointly by the British Government and the Office of Rail Regulation to look at potential efficiencies in the UK railway industry, identified more collaborative behaviour as a key ingredient in achieving these efficiencies. Those developments, along with the arrival of David Higgins at the head of NR, have helped provide the necessary impetus for the industry to work more collaboratively.