Engineers from across the rail sector joined Members of Parliament on Monday 14th November for the annual Parliamentary Reception. Held in the Terrace Pavilion of the House of Commons, the event was supported by Atkins, Costain, Hitachi Rail Europe, Mott MacDonald and Taylor Woodrow.
The evening saw representatives from a number of organisations discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the sector under the theme of 'London's Railways: Past, Present and Future'. The Reception began with a welcome by Chris Evans, MP for Islwyn, who spoke about the importance of railways, particularly for his constituents in Wales and the role that rail transport plays in bringing business and economic development to different parts of the country.
Lawrie Quinn, Chair of the RCEA and ICE London, followed by speaking about the history of the railway system and describing how rail infrastructure had long been a source of national pride for the public. Lawrie talked about how railways had, in some places, become so successful that engineers had now to find solutions to overcrowding. He called for the industry to come together to find innovative ways of solving these issues.
Rail Minister Paul Maynard MP updated attendees on the Government's priorities for the sector over the coming years. The Minister spoke about the passion engineers across the country have for the railways they work on and how the Government would continue to invest in improvements to the rail system. The Minister congratulated attendees on the work they have committed to the UK's railways and highlighted preparations being made for Year of the Engineer in 2018, a yearlong programme of events which will celebrate the work of engineers in all sectors and regions.
Attendees included Chi Onwurah MP, Shadow Minister for Industrial Strategy, Tom Copley, London Assembly Member and Lord Mair, who will become President of the Institution of Civil Engineers for 2017/18.
Lawrie Quinn, Chair of ICE London and RCEA said:
"The UK is a global leader in railway engineering, with schemes like High Speed One and Crossrail. Over the coming years, we must work to maintain that status by modernising our rail system to make it as efficient as possible.
"By continuing to invest in our railway infrastructure, with schemes like HS2, the Government has committed to boost jobs, economic growth and productivity - improving the lives of people up and down the country".
Rail Minister Paul Maynard MP said:
"Our railways are the backbone of Britain. I am delighted to talk to the engineers who are creating, maintaining and improving this vital network and keeping Britain moving.
"These men and women, who deal with the most intensively used railways in Europe, understand the challenges we face from past under-investment and will, as the Government invests in Britain, transform it into a system fit for the future."