MPs gain ‘hands-on’ railway experience through Fellowship Programme

MPs from across the political spectrum have been recognised for their participation in the Railway Industry Association’s Rail Fellowship Programme, which matches politicians with rail suppliers in their local area to give them ‘hands-on’ experience of the industry.

At an awards ceremony held in the Houses of Parliament on January 17, RFP Fellows for 2022-23 included Shadow Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband (who visited Unipart Rail), former Transport Secretary Grant Shapps (Silver Fox), and Shadow Exports Minister Nia Griffith (the Global Centre of Rail Excellence).

Due to open in 2025, the Global Centre of Rail Excellence in Onllwyn is close to Griffith’s constituency in Llanelli.

“GCRE is a unique and impressive site, which will bring investment and jobs to the local South Wales economy and beyond,” she said.

“Rail is also an important export market for the UK and I’m very pleased to see our communities involved as part of its future.”

Griffith was shown how it will undertake research, testing and certification of rolling stock, infrastructure and innovative new technologies.

Since its launch in 2018, RIA’s Rail Fellowship Programme has enlisted 36 MPs, and there is a waiting list.

“The RFP plays a pivotal role in showcasing the exciting and innovative work carried out by the rail supply sector - not only keeping people and freight moving, but securing the skilled jobs, investment and innovation that the railway industry supports,” said RIA CEO Darren Caplan.

“For the last six years, the programme has brought dozens of Parliamentarians together with the rail supply chain to raise awareness of the immense value of the industry to every corner of the UK.”

West Dorset MP, Transport Select Committee member and event sponsor Chris Loder added: “It is incredibly important for Parliamentarians to gain an in-depth understanding of the value of UK rail to their constituencies and to the whole country. I’d like to thank RIA for the work they do through the RFP in raising awareness of the industry.”

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