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Rail Investment | Getting Back on Track

17th March 2021

Event Chair Rt Hon Norman Baker
Open and Networking
10:00 Darren Caplan Chief Executive, Railway Industry Association

  • How, since March 2020, rail has proved itself to be an essential service, transporting key workers and freight around the UK during Coronavirus lockdown and restrictions;
  •  Why we shouldn’t base current rail funding on unsubstantiated forecasts of future passenger numbers and work patterns, given historically crises like pandemics and recessions have little effect on the long-term transport growth trend;
  • and Why the UK Treasury should continue to invest significantly in rail, given it helps deliver the Government’s ambition of a growing, sustainable, levelling-up, post-Coronavirus economic recovery.
10:15 Strategic Partner* 
10:30  Leaders Debate 1 – Supplier Collaboration is Key to Success
Hosted by David Hawkins Chief Operating Officer, Institute for Collaborative Working

Clive Berrington Group Commercial & Procurement Director, Network Rail

Industry Partner*

Kate Jennings Policy Director, Railway Industry Association

  • What effective supplier engagement means;
  • When supplier engagement is important;
  • When Government and industry should choose to ‘make or buy’ and how we play to the strengths of the industry and Government;
  • Why supplier engagement matters;
  • How – what tools do we have – including opportunities presented by the Construction Playbook and procurement green paper?  What are the priorities?
  Leaders Debate 2 – What are the Opportunities After Franchising?
Hosted by Rob Brighouse Chairman, East West Rail

Richard McClean Managing Director, Grand Central Railway

  • Post-Franchising will also be post-COVID. The trauma of the failure of the Franchising system and the management of the impacts of COVID have shown that the allocation of revenue and cost risk between taxpayer and Operators is a key design factor to be addressed in any new commercial architecture for the rail industry.
  • A key lesson learnt from the progressive failure of the Franchising system has been the inability to coordinate strategic planning across Infrastructure capability, Franchise Specifications and market requirements. How can the essential alignment required be secured in the post-Franchising world?
  • A key design aim of the arrangements being developed for the post-Franchise world is an improved and more direct relationship between local stakeholders and the relevant contracted Operators. This has been achieved by TfL with its two London Concessions and it is being embedded in Scotland and Wales. How can similar beneficial relationships be enabled in England given the challenges of non-correlated geographies across markets, political representation and service provision? In addition, if we “follow the money” there is no local structures in place as all funding in England is DfT controlled.
  • If the reforms of the Franchising model are focused on addressing the arrangements for delivering non-commercial public or social service related train operations at an affordable cost, what model is appropriate for commercial Intercity train operations? What lessons can UK learn from mainland Europe in this area.

Industry Partner*

Catherine Williams Deputy Director, Railway Markets and Economics at ORR

Leaders Debate 3 – Funding the Investment
Hosted by Rt Hon Norman Baker

Maggie Simpson Director General, Rail Freight Group

  • As the structure of the railways is reformed, how do we create an environment in which private sector investment can flourish?
  • What is the right mix of public and private investment for the railways?
  • How can public and private investment support Government’s wider economic ambitions?
  • How can we fund investment to decarbonise the railways?

Industry Partner* 

Tolu Osekita, Lead Third Party Funding, Network Rail

Tim Wood Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, Transport for the North

  • Could Northern Powerhouse Rail break the mould and let in an new era of private finance to drive Station builds?
  • How can we make sure that a pipeline is just that, a clear view into the future of funded railway schemes that business decisions within the supply chain can understand in the Boardroom of decision makers?
  • How do we as an industry play our part in providing confidence to Government and HMT that we can deliver consistently to Programme and Cost?
  • How do we drive Freight company ambitions to run more trains while still providing for an increase in passengers numbers over the next 2 decades?
10:55 Break and Networking
11:25 Chris Heaton-Harris Rail Minister, Department for Transport
11:40 Andrew Haines Chief Executive, Network Rail


  • The UK railway has a rich history of innovation and pioneering new technologies and the importance of building on this history;
  • How investing into new and emerging technologies that will deliver more for passengers and freight;
  • The efficiencies that can be made by investing in the right technologies as well as the role the railway has to play in supporting the national recovery from the pandemic.


11:55 Mark Phillips Chief Executive Officer, Rail Safety and Standards Board
12:10 Strategic Partner Caroline Donaldson Managing Director West Coast Partnership Development 
Break and Networking
12:55 David Hughes Director General, Rail Infrastructure, Department for Transport
Innovation Room 1
Innovation Room 2
Innovation Room 3
13:35 Tim Wood Northern Powerhouse Rail Director, Transport for the North

  • Northern Powerhouse Rail, the re-phasing of the Strategic Outline Case and the route to spades in the ground by mid 2020’s
13:50 Paul Harwood Investment Director Southern Region, Network Rail
Final Remarks and Networking