Rail industry and TfL joining forces to shake up standards and drive innovation

In a move which hopes to improve clarity and innovation, the Railway Industry Association (RIA) and Transport for London (TfL) plan to implement a new process by which rail suppliers can provide feedback on standards that provide the overall framework for the sector.

While the aim of standards is to achieve a safe, cost-efficient railway system they are known industry-wide for attaching complexity which can result in unnecessary costs. The hope of the latest link up is to develop innovation which may result in reducing running costs for the benefit of passengers, freight users and taxpayers.

It comes on the back of the successful introduction of Network Rail’s Standard Challenge Process last year, which has already seen over 30 changes to standards within a year of the process being launched.

It marked the end of 18 months of work undertaken by Network Rail which involved reviewing and enhancing its suite of engineering and operational standards.

To kick off the latest arrangement, 20 organisations from supplier businesses attended a workshop at RIA’s headquarters last week to hear from London Underground’s managing director Nigel Holness.

Commenting on the standards process, Holness said: “We believe our supply chain should be supported to develop new solutions and not held back in terms of innovation by historical norms. So we are delighted to be working with RIA to see how we can best deliver future rail improvements by changing those standards that have previously hampered new ideas and innovations. Our intention is to create a portal to ensure transparency, which will be developed over 2019.”

David Clarke, technical director of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) added: “It is fantastic to be working with Transport for London to develop a process by which unnecessarily onerous standards can be challenged. Our previous work with Network Rail shows the benefit to clients and suppliers of coming together to collaboratively assess how we can deliver innovatively and cost-effectively – ultimately to the benefit of those who use our rail system.”

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