RDG colleagues were joined by nearly 200 stakeholders from across the industry and further, on 26 November, for a thought leadership event which discussed key topics pertinent to the industry and its proposals for change, both now and in the long term.

The event was chaired by ex-political correspondent and ITV economics editor, Daisy McAndrew, who led the discussion alongside a host of senior industry leaders and specialists who provided keynote speeches and took part in thought provoking panel sessions. Speakers varied from Trevor Phillips OBE, to Kevin Rowan of the TUC and Claire Walker of the British Chambers of Commerce.

Paul Plummer, Chief Executive, RDG opened the day with an introductory speech which outlined the main theme for the day – change. His speech covered topics ranging from the need for improved technology within the industry, the climate emergency and the role rail has got to play in addressing this, positioning rail as an enabler to meet key challenges facing Britain today. Paul ended his speech by saying:

“I hope we can listen to one another, learn from one another, plot our course to the future together, because we all want the same thing – a world-class railway, woven deep into the fabric of the nation, delivering economic and social benefits to our growing population, and helping to stem the tide of climate change” – Paul Plummer, RDG

Andrew Haines, Chief Executive at Network Rail, and Chris Burchell, Managing Director Arriva Trains, and RDG Chair, took to the stage for the first session which focussed on punctuality, devolution and the big changes taking place within the system.

Other sessions touched on the Rail Delivery Group’s proposals for change under the Williams Rail Review and examined how while there is a need to address some of the structural elements of the industry to deliver lasting change, the industry is delivering tangible benefits and improvements in spite of those structures.

Perhaps the best session of the day focused on the need for real reform to the fares system in order to meet customers’ needs and encourage more people to travel by train. Anna Whitehouse from Mother Pukka stressed the need for more flexibility within our fares system:

“Flexible working is a fundamental shift in the fabric of how we work, and the rail fare system needs to become more flexible” – Anna Whitehouse, Mother Pukka

Other discussions focused on devolution, the important role of freight as part of a greener economy, diversity and the need to ensure long-lasting change for the customer.

For more information about the RDG Conference 2019, please contact the Rail Delivery Group at stephen.noel@raildeliverygroup.com or visit our twitter account @RailDeliveryGrp and the hastag #bigplanbigchanges.


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