UK Rail Industry
You will be forgiven when asked about the UK Rail industry if your response focuses on rising fares, overcrowded services and timetable failures. Being British it is our job to focus on the flaws in everything. It is of course perfectly acceptable, to feel aggrieved by such misdemeanours, whether justifiable or not. However perhaps we should remember this is an industry that employs 190,000 people that maintain a track network in excess of 20,000 miles passing through more than 2,500 stations. This is an operation in place to service 1.3billion passenger journeys a year.
Perhaps the most important statistic is the employment of 190,000 people. Take their jobs away and the economic impact will be vast. We at Talascend are an organisation heavily reliant on the industry, but not considered in the immediate statistics. Luckily for us their is a lot of good things to talk about in UK Rail and we wanted to share our perspective on the how the industry can influence wider social and economic issues.
HS2 and CrossRail represent just two of the current major rail infrastructure projects in the UK, others include the Great North Rail project (developing better connections between towns and cities in the North), Midland mainline improvement (better services, more seats and quieter trains through the entire Midlands network) and EGIP (modernisation and upgrade of the Scottish network which includes between Edinburgh & Glasgow). We are just scratching the surface and highlighting the major projects but this does at least demonstrate the commitment in place to make the UK rail network better. However we want to consider the bigger picture of what such projects are also impacting:
Major cities are becoming crowded and as a result expensive. The development of faster links from neighbouring towns will allow prospective house buyers to consider more areas in which to purchase, yet still accessible to their place of work and perhaps most importantly, affordable. In turn this should create opportunity for house builders as a result of more demand in areas that are also cost effective to develop in.
The existing infrastructure projects have created a demand for specialist talent but this is a short term view. The long term employment opportunities exist not only within the industry through increased employment to support new routes, stations etc but also in many associated sectors that benefit from such developments such as Retail outlets supporting the stations and construction companies benefiting from regeneration of areas as mentioned above.
At the centre of the projects is a commitment to deliver more sustainable, cleaner, quieter and energy efficient trains. With Rail already being the lowest carbon mode of transport, the industry places great importance on protecting the environment. HS2 will actually create new woodlands as part of the project.
Towns disconnected as a result of poor transport links will have suffered issues such as decline in house prices and lack of investment in local businesses. New Rail connections will increase population and create demand for housing whilst also attracting local business opportunities.
Talascend is proud to support many of the organisations responsible for delivery of the ongoing Rail infrastructure projects and we are equally excited by the wider issues these should address.