Over 3,500 attendees join RIA events on Rail SPEED

12 August 2021

Over 3,500 people have joined the Rail SPEED webinars organised by the Railway Industry Association (RIA) in partnership with the Department for Transport (DfT) and Network Rail, since the first conference was opened with a message from Prime Minister Boris Johnson MP in February 2021.

During the year, the series of virtual events on the Rail SPEED initiative has seen attendees from across the industry. Rail SPEED (Swift, Pragmatic and Efficient Enhancement Delivery) was jointly developed by DfT and Network Rail, to make rail infrastructure delivery faster, smarter and more efficient.

In his opening message at the first event, the Prime Minister thanked those in the rail industry for their work over the pandemic and backed a return to rail as the economy opens up, saying “good efficient mass transit systems are the great social and economic levellers and bringers of hope” as the economy seeks to bounceback post-lockdown.

The Rail SPEED events have seen:

  • More than 3,500 attendees over the three events;
  • Attendees join from the supply chain, clients and government. Some 1,760 Network Rail attendees (50%), 1,660 rail suppliers (47%) and 128 Government representatives joined the series;
  • The sessions focused on all aspects of SPEED, including PACE, Standards, Timetabling, Interoperability, Procurement and Access & Possessions.

David Clarke, Technical Director at the Railway Industry Association (RIA), said: 

“Rail SPEED is a hugely important initiative for the railway industry, setting out how Government, clients and suppliers can work together to improve project delivery. We were delighted to have partnered with Network Rail and Department for Transport (DfT) to deliver a successful series of events, and to have had so many colleagues from all areas of the industry join our sessions.

“We look forward to continue supporting future events and, with regular engagement from the supply chain, to help make Rail SPEED a success.”

Sue Millington, Head of Programme Management at Network Rail, said: 

"SPEED is hugely significant in the way the rail industry is moving forward to deliver safe, efficient infrastructure projects. This ambitious, collaborative approach to build back from the pandemic relies on effective partnerships to succeed. We have been delighted to work with our colleagues in the DfT to deliver these joint events and include the wider industry in what we want to achieve through Rail SPEED.".

Each of the events were interactive with attendees taking part in polls and participating in lively Q&A discussion sessions.
Notes to Editors


  1. A case study on Rail SPEED on reopening the Dartmoor Line can be found here
  2. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s opening speech can be viewed here
  3. The recordings of the events can be found in RIA’s YouTube channel here
  4. About RIA: The Railway Industry Association (RIA) is the voice of the UK rail supply community. We help to grow a sustainable, high-performing, railway supply industry, and to export UK rail expertise and products. RIA has 300+ companies in membership in a sector that contributes £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people—more than the workforce of Birmingham. It is also a vital industry for the UK’s economic recovery, supporting green investment and jobs in towns and communities across the UK. RIA’s membership is active across the whole of railway supply, covering a diverse range of products and services and including both multi-national companies and SMEs (60% by number). RIA works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry. www.riagb.org.uk

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