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Five Step Innovation Recommendations to Transform Rail Across the North

2 min


After the Northern Rail Industry Leaders (NRIL) report was released today, Tangent analyses how the five-step project aims to boost the sector in the North. 

NRIL’s report explains that there is a strong need to develop a plan that prioritises TfN challenges and works on communicating these issues as widely as possible with solution owners. Additionally, there is a need to define a funding strategy for TfN and a need to oversee corporate behaviours support an organic culture of innovation in the region.

Key challenges to innovation that the report found were: 

  • Awareness– Develop a plan for identifying, defining, and prioritising TfN challenge statements. 
  • Funding– Define an innovation funding strategy for TfN that specifies sources and means of accessing funding for solution owners. 
  • People– Make innovation a key pillar of TfN’s people strategy, ensuring that the leadership and corporate behaviours support an organic culture of innovation. 
  • Procurement– Embed procurement and contracting approaches in TfN that support and drive innovation, its exploitation and commercialisation. 
  • Supply chain–  Develop a plan to harness the inherent capability of northern SMEs, consultants, and universities. 

The work was led by the NRIL Innovation Group following a series of workshop and engagement sessions with TfN over the last 18 months. The authors identified the five key challenge areas for innovation at the transport body and set out recommendations for each area. 

Innovation can be a key driver of Transport for the North’s vision for a thriving north of England that is underpinned by a world-class transport system

Rhianne Evans and David Taylor, co-authors of the report explained: Innovation can be a key driver of Transport for the North’s vision for a thriving north of England that is underpinned by a world-class transport system. In this new report we sought to outline how, through enabling innovation and adopting new ways of working, TfN, Key Stakeholders & the Supply Chain can work together to deliver the rail improvements to achieve this.” 

Calls for improvements can be met by innovation 

For some time, there have been calls for major improvements to rail in the North. Whether this is in rail connectivity or platform improvements. Bringing new and innovative projects to the region will not only help rail improvements but help boost investment, generate jobs and boost economic growth to the North.  

“Against the backdrop of the Coronavirus pandemic, there is now even greater pressure on our industry to deliver these outcomes on time and on budget. We also know that TfN faces challenges to decarbonise, increase connectivity and improve accessibility on the network,” Rhianne added.

Justin Moss and Mike Hulme, Co-Chairs, Northern Rail Industry Leaders told Tangent:At NRIL, we believe that innovation in the rail industry can help drive growth and provide opportunity across the North, as we look to build a transport network that meets the needs of everyone in our region.”


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