Network Rail has announced that from 1st May 2020, references will be provided for use by UK suppliers when bidding for overseas contracts or an export opportunity.

Under this new measure, Network Rail suppliers will have the option to request a reference in writing, either on completion of a contract or following a period of 12 months of continuous work.

Network Rail’s move to provide references for UK suppliers with overseas growth ambitions reflects its commitment to the Rail Sector Deal, a Government and rail industry commitment to work together to ensure the UK capitalises on emerging opportunities in the global rail sector.

Clive Berrington, Commercial and Procurement Director for Network Rail said: “Supporting the UK’s railway supply chain win overseas contracts will help suppliers develop their businesses and ultimately help boost the British economy. This may also help accelerate innovation and drive competitiveness in the sector. We have always worked collaboratively with our supply chain and by offering this support, we are helping unlock the rail supply chain’s future potential overseas.”

Welcoming today’s announcement, Minister for Exports Graham Stuart MP said: “The UK has an array of excellent supply chain companies who have proven their capabilities through Network Rail and international projects across the globe.  This new reference scheme will help to showcase UK firms’ experience and expertise to buyers around the world and I am delighted that Network Rail is now offering this support for UK exports. More trade is essential if the UK is to overcome the unprecedented economic challenge posed by coronavirus, and this new scheme will help boost the UK rail sector further.”  

Philip Hoare, Rail Supply Group Chair, said: “There has never been a more important time for collaboration across the rail industry as we navigate our way through COVID-19 to ensure that the sector can fully recover and grow, both in the UK and new international markets. As such, we very much welcome Network Rail’s offer to provide references which will greatly assist the supply chain as it looks to increases export opportunities over the coming years.”  

Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association, said: “This is welcome news that UK rail suppliers will now be able to get a reference from Network Rail to support them in winning business overseas. Rail is already a vital part of the UK’s export offer – with UK rail goods and services traded across the world – and this support from Network Rail will help the railway industry do even more. As a key delivery partner of the Rail Sector Deal, RIA and our members will clearly support this work.”

Rail Sector Deal Exports & Inward Investment Industry Champion Noel Travers, Managing Director of Unipart Rail said: “A key ask from industry was to examine how public sector organisations could better support UK rail exports, with an area for further consideration being how Network Rail’s domestic policy impacts on exporting.  It’s particularly pleasing therefore that Network Rail is now helping UK exporters demonstrate that their equipment is in use within the UK’s railways, with references. We hope that by doing so, they’ll be helping suppliers to win overseas business. This is a great example of industry and Government working together and we must thank Network Rail for their assistance with this. We hope that it is just one of a series of examples of how the sector deal can make a difference to industry moving forward.”

To ensure all requests are dealt with in a timely manner Network Rail has set up a dedicated mailbox to respond to any queries: RSC& .

The full supplier reference process is available to view on Network Rail’s website: