We welcome The Railway Industry Association’s publication – 10 reasons why rail investment should continue – ahead of the Spending Review and in light of the debate over Coronavirus’s impact on the future of transport.
The report sets out the case for how railways can play a pivotal role in the UK’s economic recovery, and the reasons are set out here:
- Rail is a long-term game – Investments in infrastructure or rolling stock are usually delivered, and create continuing value for passengers and the wider economy, over years.
- The reduction in passenger numbers is likely to be temporary – Based on previous economic slumps in the 1980s, 1990s and post-2008, as well as past health crises, passenger numbers have always recovered to continue their pattern of growth.
- Rail is not just for passengers – It is also vital for freight, with over 4 billion tonnes being delivered annually before Coronavirus.
- Rail travel is clean and safe – A study undertaken by RSSB in August 2020 estimates that the risk of infection per passenger journey is 1-in-11,000 journeys, with similar results found in other countries.
- Investment can support the whole of the UK – The rail network touches almost every part of the country and has the potential to unlock a new generation of talent.
- Rail can lead the green recovery – It is not possible to meet zero carbon goals for transport without rail. Rail is a green mode of mass transit, contributing just 2.5% of greenhouse gas emissions from transport and only 0.6% of total UK emissions.
- Rail cannot easily be mothballed – Once rail infrastructure is decommissioned, it is not easily reopened.
- Rail investment has a knock-on economic impact – For every £1 spent on the rail network, £2.20 value is delivered in the wider economy.
- Investment cannot wait – Much of the rail spending planned cannot be postponed, in order to meet our decarbonisation and digitalisation targets.
- There is a clear window to get work done – The pandemic has provided an opportunity to get work done without impact on services, which should be capitalised on before passenger and freight numbers return.
You can download here: 10 reasons to continue to invest in rail