January 2023 has come to a close, giving us the perfect opportunity to consider the month’s news alongside the rail industry’s headlines as 2022 concluded. The last few months of 2022 saw key events for the rail industry, from the climate change conference COP27 in November to announcements on Control Period 7 funding from Network Rail.
Martin Gleadow, Head of Customer Success at 3Squared, reflects on these news stories making the headlines in the industry:
“As we advocate for rail as an essential element of our transport system and key to a greener network, it’s great to see other benefits of rail highlighted in the media, such as the GTR research that has revealed that travelling into the office by rail more regularly could boost wellbeing through regular micro interactions with others, the chance to read or listen to podcasts, and more. Here at 3Squared, it turns out that over 50% of our team regularly travel into the office by train and tram!
“A theme that has stood out throughout 2022 and running into 2023 is sustainability. Enabling a greener railway is at the forefront of the industry agenda and is a key priority for us at 3Squared. Innovation and investment in greener transportation, like rail, is key to creating a more environmentally friendly, transport system and society at large.
“Research from Trainline also reveals that business travellers want to make greener choices and ‘increase use of lower carbon modes of transport’ which is promising news.
“As we at 3Squared continue to develop specialist rail solutions, Net Zero and sustainability remain front of mind. This year one of our key focuses is PathPlanner, a tool designed to help overcome rail freight capacity challenges, enabling freight services to run more flexibly and efficiently. This is a solution that can help facilitate the modal shift from road to the more environmentally friendly rail.
“It’s been exciting to see other innovators enabling change in the industry, such as Varamis Rail, the UK’s first electric-only rail freight operator, who have started to transport parcels more sustainably.
“Tying into sustainability is another theme: the digital railway. Throughout 2022 and into 2023, we’ve seen numerous advancements in creating the digital railway of the future. From new digital displays at Doncaster, to progress on the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP), it’s clear digitalisation is here to stay.
“On a wider industry level, we’ve seen funding announced for Network Rail’s Control Period 7 (CP7), and discussions around the social, environmental and commercial innovations planned for CP7. Research informing plans for CP7 shows that as we move into the new year, passengers are prioritising ‘value for money, reliability and punctuality’. We look forward to seeing more of these innovations in action in the next few years.
“Alongside funding information, we’ve seen calls for clarity in terms of several major infrastructure projects, including Stonehenge Tunnel, HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, so it will be interesting to see how this progresses this year. Large infrastructure projects like HS2, which we have had the privilege of working on, have reported key milestones recently, such as completing the world’s longest bridge slide.
“Another project that we have been involved with, the East Coast Digital Programme (ECDP), developed throughout 2022 and we look forward to seeing further progress this year, especially given the enhancements to sustainability and connectivity.
“Other organisations have reached important milestones in 2023, such as LNER which recently marked its 100th year, and the London Underground, which celebrate its 160th year. Membership body Rail Forum is also celebrating an anniversary this year, having been established 30 years ago.
“When it comes to regional rail news, the Midlands Rail hub was announced at the back end of last year, with an aim to bring greater connectivity to the region and was described as the ‘biggest step possible in levelling-up the Midlands’.
“Finally, we’ve also seen some exciting news from clients and collaborators in January, including Merseyrail’s new Stadler fleet entering the network. Both Merseyrail and Stadler use our competency management system RailSmart EDS, which improves visibility, minimises risk and reduces the cost of compliance management.
“Thanks for reading this issue of 3Squared’s media insights, we will be sharing more insights soon.”
If you would like to hear more from the 3Squared team on how we can support your business, get in touch today.