HSR Industry Leaders organised a focus group meeting with the business community in Derby recently to discuss the potential benefits that high speed rail could bring to the local economy, and to their businesses specifically.

The focus group highlighted a genuine interest in HS2 from the local supply chain. It demonstrated the breadth and depth of railway knowledge in the Derby area and going forward, this needs to be communicated to purchasers and specifiers.

– Richard Carr, chief executive of Sheffield depot equipment specialist, Mechan

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Hosted by Transport Bombardier at their Litchurch Lane depot in Derby, the event was the second in a series of local supply chain events taking place at HSRIL member industrial sites designed to consider how high speed rail in the UK has the capability of transforming business, and in particular businesses outside the obvious rail supply chain.

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The session was a candid and focussed discussion of HSR and I came away with a better understanding of what to expect and when. Timescales were clearer and it was interesting to understand the project from different levels within the supply chain – a very useful morning.

– Chris Brown, Managing Director, Crowle Wharf Engineers Ltd

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Some key messages from the discussions were:

  • Industry has learnt lessons from Crossrail – which is now 65% complete, with 97% contracts won by UK firms, of which 62% are based outside of London
  • More comprehensive information on procurement timescales would help (particularly SMEs) with their investment strategies
  • The rail and infrastructure sector needs to proactively promote the industry in a positive way and encourage people with a wide ranging (and transferable) skill set to join it