Posted on July 1, 2013 · Posted in Midlands

The IRO Midlands Area is currently finalising its events programme for this year, which will commence in September and run to June 2014.

As the rail industry approaches the end of Control Period 4, our theme for this year’s programme is “Delivering a sustainable and future-proof railway for CP5 – and beyond”.
Much has been made in the press about funding for the railway in recent months, often in the same context as criticism of performance, poor customer satisfaction, high ticket prices and overcrowding.
All this at a time when demand for rail transport remains consistently high.

The ORR’s draft determination for Control Period 5 is significant, not least for requiring Network Rail to do more with less. It explicitly acknowledges that a funding agreement for the nation’s rail infrastructure manager can only be properly made by taking into account the wider rail industry. This is a manifesto for collaboration and working together, for innovation and sustainability, for shared risk and reward and – crucially – increased customer engagement.

These themes are of great importance to railway operators of all levels, now and for the future. Our programme for 2013-14 has a major focus on these aims, starting with a keynote presentation from the Office of Rail Regulation on the Periodic Review for CP5 and followed by guest speakers from a variety of industry stakeholder groups including the Rail Delivery Group, Passenger Focus, the Rail Industry Association and the Rail Freight Group. The presentations in these areas will be supported by a look at a number of key schemes which are driven by increased demand and the need for more capacity, such as the EastWestRail and Staffordshire Alliance projects.

The programme is still being finalised but details so far are as follows:

2nd September, Birmingham
• The CP5 Periodic Review
• (Cathryn Ross, Director Markets & Economics, Office of Rail Regulation)

7th October, Derby
• The Railway Technical Strategy
• (Francis How, Technical Director, the Rail Industry Association)

4th November, Milton Keynes
• The East-WestRail project
• (Cllr Rodney Rose, Chairman, Oxford County Council Transport portfolio; Patrick O’Sullivan, Rail Consultant; David Sexton, HLOS Development Manager, DfT; Francs McGarry, Senior programme Manager, Network Rail )

13th January, Birmingham
• What Passengers want and need
• (Robert Samson, Rail Passenger Manager, Passenger Focus)

10th February, Derby
• A voice for Freight
• (Lord Tony Berkeley, Rail Freight Group)

10th March, Milton Keynes
• A “whole-industry” approach
• (Gary Cooper, Director of Operations & Engineering, the Rail Delivery Group)

7th April, Birmingham
• The Staffordshire Alliance
• (Dominic Baldwin, Senior Programme Manager, Network Rail, other speakers to be announced)

5th May, Derby
• to be announced

9th June, Milton Keynes
• to be announced

Of course, the railway continues day-to-day and we will continue to provide opportunities for visiting, and learning from, front-line rail-related business areas. Visits during the season will include a train care depot, intermodal freight facility, regional signalling centre, light rail facility and the Derby facilities of the Rail Accident Investigation Branch. Details will be published around a month beforehand in each case.

Finally we will be holding an informal social evening in Birmingham on December 16th (members only) and shall close the season with our traditional “family day” in July 2014.

Events start at 1730 for 1745. For further information about IRO Midlands contact Julia Stanyard on 0121 345 3833 or email