Luke Pollard, local MP for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport attended the Pandrol site in Plymouth, UK as part of a new campaign – the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme – which is showcasing the work of the UK rail supply chain by allowing parliamentarians and influencers to gain hands-on experience in the industry. More than 14 MPs have expressed interest in the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme, as decision makers line up to pledge their support for the UK rail industry.
The campaign is being run by the Railway Industry Association (RIA). RIA has more than 200 member companies and works to promote the importance of the rail system to UK plc, to help export UK expertise around the globe and to share best practice and innovation across the industry.
Luke Pollard had discussions with employees on site at Pandrol Plymouth, including an employee who was undertaking a MBA funded by Pandrol. He also was given a full tour of the site, and saw up close the latest equipment being manufactured, such as Pandrol’s innovative Vortok Stressing Rollers, which allow for quicker, safer and more cost effective stressing of rails. The completion of today’s site visit enshrines Luke as a member of the RIA Rail Fellowship Class of 2018. The Class of 2018 in full will be recognised with awards at the annual RIA Parliamentary reception in The House of Commons on Tuesday 27th November 2018.
The rail sector is of crucial importance to the UK economy, contributing £36 billion in economic growth and £11 billion in tax revenue each year, as well as employing 600,000 people. It is also a growing industry with the number of rail journeys expected to double over the next 25 years and freight set to grow significantly too.
Luke Pollard MP said: “Improving the railway in the far south west has been one of my main priorities since being elected last year. We not only need investment by Ministers in new track and trains we need orders to support the excellent local businesses in the south west who supply equipment and materials to keep Britain moving. It was great to see for myself, through RIA’s Rail Fellowship Programme, how jobs are being created in Plymouth supporting rail upgrades at home and abroad.”
Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association said: “It’s great to see the MP for Plymouth, Luke Pollard spending a day finding out about our innovative and dynamic rail supply sector, becoming the UK’s first RIA Rail Fellow. The work of the rail supply chain is vital and greatly boosts our economy, jobs and investment year upon year. We are delighted to welcome Luke to the RIA Rail Fellowship Programme, Class of 2018!”.
Richard Robertson, Managing Director, Equipment & Control at Pandrol said: “I am delighted to receive Luke and RIA to Pandrol Plymouth today. As a company where innovation has been key to our success and recent growth this is a great opportunity to showcase our abilities, and specifically those of our talented staff, at a parliamentary level. All the staff here in Plymouth are very proud of the products we produce and their positive impact in the rail industry; we see this visit as a welcome recognition of our efforts.”