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Philip Rawlings: How Can We Build a Railway Fit for the Future?

3 min

Cc: Steve Jones, Flickr
Ahead of Peloton’s Rail Cymru Conference, we caught up with Phil Rawlings, Head of Rail Asset Management for Transport for Wales, to find out more about how TfW can build a railway fit for the future.

Joining Network Rail in 2018, Phil has been Head of Asset Management throughout the whole process of transforming Transport for Wales into a revitalised network.

Phil Rawlings, Head of Rail Asset Management at TfW

As the current overseer of the infrastructure management that TfW owns, including the Core Valley Lines, Phil’s role is vital for the innovation of the Welsh Railway. It will see new services, rolling stock, innovative solutions, and a massive programme of station investment.

With a unique experience where the assets have moved from Network Rail to Transport for Wales, Phil told Quadrant Transport about what opportunities this can bring to the supply chain: “Having worked in Network Rail for a period of time, it’s sometimes difficult for people with ideas to break into the industry. We as one, have a smaller network so we can try lots of different things.

As a slightly smaller organisation, we’re more flexible and more open to ideas from the market to be able to make some changes from traditional ways of working.”

At Rail Cymru, Phil will be explaining the structure of Transport for Wales in response to the roles and responsibilities the transfer incorporates

Phil will also be explaining what TfW are doing in terms of innovation and accelerating companies to excel.

“The innovation LAB is something TfW have put together to enable an opportunity for people interested within innovation, and have certain productions they want helping, developing and/or marketing, to work with TfW and have their products accelerated,” Phil told Quadrant Transport.

LAB helps start-ups develop a fit for purpose 12 minimum viable products (MVP) and get the pitch ready in just 12 weeks, allowing them to develop and launch their solution to market.

TfW has already accelerated 18 start-ups into the rail industry through this programme, allowing modernisation to shine on the Welsh rail lines.

Speaking on building a railway fit for the future of Wales, Phil told Quadrant Transport: “In terms of getting the right solution for Wales for the long term and having the sustainable transport network for rail, the finding needs to be right for the Welsh Government to be able to do that.

“Making sure everyone is on the same page and on the right direction in terms of strategy and achieving public transport goals is key.”

The supply chain has an integral role to play in the transformation of the Welsh Railway

Speaking to Quadrant Transport about what Transport for Wales is looking for from the supply chain, Phil said: “We’ve grown a huge amount over the last three years, but I think there’s still needs a bit of understanding in the general market about what TfW’s role is and what we’re trying to achieve.

We need to make sure that the infrastructure is fit for the future, and some of that is dealing with some of the issues that have now.

“But also, understanding that we are here as an infrastructure owner, as well as the train operator. We’d like to discuss opportunities for suppliers to be able to innovate on our network, whose expertise is in the market to come up with the best solutions.”

Join Phil Rawlings, Head of Rail Asset Management at the Mercure Holland House on 7 April 2022. Find out more here: https://peloton-events.co.uk/rail-cymru-2022/