Assembly event celebrates the economic impact of the railway across Wales and Borders

Network Rail hosted its largest ever event at the National Assembly for Wales, celebrating the economic impact of the railway across Wales and Borders.

Record producer and lifelong supporter of the rail industry Pete Waterman joined Network Rail chair Sir Peter Hendy at the event hosted at the Pierhead Building in Cardiff Bay on Wednesday 29 November.

Sir Peter Hendy, CBE, Chair of Network Rail, said: “Wales and Borders are leading the way by maximising the benefits of devolution and working closely with the supply chain to deliver a safe, reliable, affordable and growing railway.

“The event was a great opportunity to showcase these partnerships and celebrate the positive impact they have on local communities.”

Andy Thomas, route managing director for Network Rail in Wales and Borders, said: “The railway supports economic growth by connecting people, businesses and communities. 

“We are really proud of our people, our supply chain and our industry partners as we all continue to work together to deliver for passengers and communities across Wales and Borders.”

Lynne Milligan, customer services director for Arriva Train Wales said:  “Working ever closely with our partners in Network Rail helps us to support the local economies we serve more effectively than ever, ensuring that community voices and needs are considered as we continue to grow our industry alongside our partners in government.”

More than 1,600 dedicated Network Rail staff work on the rail network across Wales and Borders, supported by an increasing number of locally sourced businesses that form a critical element of the supply chain.

Local suppliers at the event included four Torfaen based companies who all play an important role in supporting Network Rail to deliver its Railway Upgrade Plan.

They include G.O.S Tool and Engineering, with a key part of their business involving the manufacture of road rail vehicles. They have an annual turnover of £9m and employ over 100 people. Fitzgerald Plant Services Ltd provide specialist maintenance, repair and manufacture of rail and construction equipment; Quattro supplier of heavy machinery and Adrian Phillips specialists in converting road rail vehicles were showcasing.

Event sponsor Torfaen Assembly Member Lynne Neagle said: “I’m proud Torfaen plays such an important role in Network Rail’s supply chain, providing good quality jobs for people and supporting the local economy. Rail is vital for economic growth and I was delighted to support the event.”

Year 6 pupils from Woodlands Community Primary School in Cwmbran also attended the event and participated in an interactive lesson on rail safety and engineering.

Mrs Neagle added: “It is great to see a major company like Network Rail making links with schools and using its skilled staff to involve children in STEM subjects, particularly engineering, especially given our strong manufacturing base in Torfaen. I think events like this can really play a big part in creating the engineers of the future.”