The Rail Sector Deal was launched on 6 December 2018.

The published document includes a number of priorities and actions largely set out as ‘offers’ from industry aligned against support required or ‘asks’ of  government. This clearly demonstrates the partnership approach required to deliver the deal! Key areas of focus include:

  • accelerating the digital railway (including significant reduction in the overall cost of signalling compared to current)
  •  improving the customer experience (with a heavy emphasis on how the industry can collectively use the plethora of data generated better)
  • ensuring a sustainable supply chain (with emphasis on SME support, improving procurement strategies and skills development)

RFM is delighted that the deal specifically includes a number of Midlands based pilots covering SME support, shared apprenticeships, co-ordinated schools engagement and development of a data platform for sharing data. The first three of these incorporate ideas put forward by RFM on behalf of members and we will be actively involved in the delivery of these initial pilot projects. We will also be supporting the data platform activity and the wider sector deal delivery plans.

Whilst the deal sets out a blueprint for the future relationship of the industry with government and hence does not immediately provide specific opportunities for supply chain companies we would encourage members to be aware of the deal and consider what opportunities might emerge that will enable companies to best position themselves for the future.  Some companies may wish to volunteer to get involved in the initial delivery and if you are interested in this please get in touch and we can link you up with the relevant delivery team/activities.

With the Midlands specifically mentioned throughout the deal it also provides a reference for members seeking funding from whatever source; be this for strategy development/strategic support, innovation, equipment, skills development to name just a few. Ensuring that potential funders know the importance of the deal to Midlands rail companies can only help when it comes to funding bids.

For more information on current developments or to get involved please contact

You can also see the One Railway video produced to support the sector deal submission here:

Rail Sector Deal Video

Context and Background to the Sector Deal

In January 2017 the UK government launched a wide ranging consultation exercise about the future Industrial Strategy for the UK. The Rail Forum responded to the Industrial Strategy green paper, seeking views from members and then feeding back a formal response to the consultation.

RFM Response to Industrial Strategy Consultation Paper April 2017_final

The Industrial Strategy green paper proposed the establishment of so called ‘sector deals’ for those industries that have significant growth potential and/or strategic value to the UK and where there is sufficient interest on the part of an industry to work collaboratively with government. Over the summer of 2017 the rail industry came together under the leadership of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) and Rail Supply Group (RSG)  to develop proposals for a rail sector deal and in October 2017 an initial sector deal proposal document was submitted to government. We made a significant contribution to this work on behalf of our members.

Government announced its overall Industrial Strategy on 27th November 2017. The rail industry was encouraged to develop the initial proposals further and detailed proposals for a sector deal were submitted in October 2018.