Priti Patel becomes latest Rail Fellow after hands-on day on rail site
On Monday, Priti Patel, Conservative MP for Witham, took part in the Railway Industry Association’s (RIA) Rail Fellowship Programme, which showcases the work of UK rail by spending a day at world leading manufacturer Bombardier’s depot in Ilford.
The high-profile MP for Witham spent the day on-site touring the depot, seeing the new Class Aventra 345 rolling stock in use on TfL Rail services, and which will be used on the new Elizabeth line, and meeting apprentices and staff, to understand the work they do to benefit the rail sector and the wider economy. This is part of an exciting campaign – the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme – which is showcasing the work of the UK rail supply chain by allowing Parliamentarians and influencers to gain hands-on experience in the industry. A number of MPs have now taken part in the Programme and many more visits are in the pipeline, as decision makers line up to pledge their support for the UK rail industry.
The completion of today’s site visit enshrines Priti Patel as a member of the RIA Rail Fellowship Class of 2018. The class of 2018 in full will be recognised with awards at the annual RIA Parliamentary Reception on Tuesday 27th November 2018.
Priti Patel MP said: “My visit to the Bombardier site in Ilford as part of the RIA Railway Fellowship Programme provided brilliant insight into the rail supply chain and how the rail industry is an important part of our economy. As with all highly skilled industries I was pleased to see how Bombardier are investing in skills, apprentices and innovative practices to support high quality rail services. The long term success of the UK’s economy and productivity is dependent upon a thriving supply chain to deliver critical investment in the rail network. I would like to see the Government look at new ways to support these businesses that are based in Britain.
“I am grateful to everyone involved in today’s visit and it was a pleasure to tour the site and meet with the team who are working on a number of exciting projects, including the trains for the impressive Elizabeth Line, which will provide long term commuting benefits to residents and businesses in Essex as well as an improvement in rail services in Essex.”
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said: “Bombardier is a fantastic train manufacturer and servicer and we are thrilled that Priti Patel came to Ilford today to experience for herself the great work that they do. The UK rail sector is hugely valuable for the UK economy, boosting jobs, investment and economic growth. It was great to show Priti the work that is done every day to keep our rail system running.”
Tim Bentley, Head of UK Services, Bombardier Transportation said “The RIA Railway Fellowship Programme is an excellent initiative. We are delighted to have been able to host Priti Patel at our Ilford depot, so she could see for herself how we keep Britain moving on one of the busiest and most complex networks in the world”
The RIA Rail Fellowship Programme is being run by the Railway Industry Association (RIA), the representative body for UK-based suppliers to the UK and world-wide railways. RIA has more than 200 member companies and works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry.
The rail sector is of crucial importance to the UK economy, contributing £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people—more than the workforce of Birmingham. It is also a growing industry with the number of rail journeys expected to double over the next 25 years and freight set to grow significantly too.