Keep pace with change… then get ahead of the curve

“In terms of modernising, we need to keep pace with change. There is so much change happening around society, and we need to keep pace with what society expects and what technology can offer.”

That was the view of Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) Director of Sustainable Development George Davies, as he addressed a RAIL webinar on November 17.

The webinar, which was the fourth in RAIL’s Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail series, focused on Accelerating innovation and modernisation.

Davies continued: “In the next few years, Mobility as a Service will really take off… we need people to take the train as part of their overall mobility service proposition.

“Just like you pay for your broadband or mobile phone subscription, you’ll want to be able to take a short journey to the station by electric vehicle and transfer to a train hassle-free by a single digital ticket. We really need to think hard about the railways not as trains and track, but as a technology-enabled means of moving people and goods from point to point.”

Network Rail’s Helen McAllister (Strategy and Planning Director, System Operator) enhanced Davies’ point by explaining that the way people think in society has changed over the past few decades. Whereas in the past people were happy to accept what they were given, they now expect more in every aspect of their lives.

“People’s expectations of transport have changed,” she said.

NR’s Rob McIntosh (Managing Director, Eastern Region and Executive Sponsor of Project SPEED) took the discussion a stage further: “Modernisation is about keeping up with how society is changing. Innovation is about getting ahead of how society is changing and getting ahead of the curve.”

The discussion turned to some of the barriers that prevent innovation making its way into the railway.


 You can watch this or any of the previous episodes in RAIL’s Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail series on catch-up, via

The next episode takes place on December 3, on Great British Railways and the 30-year strategy, with the following speakers:

■ Sir Peter Hendy CBE (Chairman, Network Rail).

■ Andrew Haines OBE (Chief Executive, Network Rail).

■ Elaine Seagriff (Programme Director, Strategic Planning & Whole Industry Strategic Plan, GBRTT).

■ Mary Grant (CEO, Porterbrook).

■ Mark Phillips (CEO, RSSB).

■ Hannah Moxon (Chief of Staff and Head of Public Affairs, Rail Delivery Group).

Register for your free place here:

To read the full story, see RAIL 945

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  • Güntürk Üstün - 28/11/2021 22:56

    Times are constantly changing! So are the change-adoring railways! Times move with a vertiginous and dangerous speed! The railways must also move fast with times, but in a distinctive manner of caution and wisdom! Dr. Güntürk Üstün

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  • Güntürk Üstün - 01/12/2021 01:02

    Since the Japanese Shinkansen electric multiple units began service on 1 October 1964, in time for the first Tokyo Olympics, as the world's first high-speed trains; the entire global rail industry has then created its own motto unconsciously: "keep moving forward." Maybe that is why the railways have always to change and transform with times that never slow down! Dr. Güntürk Üstün

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