More than 100 organisations endorse ‘once in a generation’ Global Centre of Rail Excellence
- European industry names large and small sign letter endorsing need for world class GCRE innovation facility
- ‘This proves once again that the customer base for the GCRE business is very strong and the commercial appetite is coming from across Europe.’
More than 100 industry names have signed a letter supporting the creation of the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) and stating that they see value in the facility for their business.
The letter outlines a series of major challenges that the rail industry faces in the coming years from Net Zero to lowering the costs of rail and says that a purpose-built site for research, testing and innovation of rolling stock, infrastructure and cutting-edge new technologies is urgently needed to tackle them.
In the letter, organisations state they fully support the GCRE facility and see value in the range of services that will be offered at the site once its operational.
Companies signing the letter include HS1, Hitachi, X-Rail, Keltbray, Thales and British Steel.
GCRE Chief Executive Simon Jones said the letter showed the level of interest and demand there was in the new world class facility and showed the commitment there was to using the broad range of services it will provide.
The Global Centre of Rail Excellence will be a site for international quality innovation and has been developed with UK and Welsh Government support. GCRE is currently involved in a private investment process to raise capital funding for the development.
Chief Executive of GCRE Limited, Simon Jones said:
“It’s fantastic to see the number and diverse range of companies signing up to this letter endorsing the exciting Global Centre of Rail Excellence vision and seeing commercial benefit in it for their businesses and the wider industry.
“What’s pleasing are that companies large and small have signed the letter, many from across Europe with a reach and presence in all quarters of the continent. That’s because what we will have at GCRE will be unique to Europe – a facility that in terms of services such as infrastructure testing, is replicated nowhere else. This proves once again that the commitment and customer base for the GCRE business is very strong and the commercial appetite is there from across Europe.
“Our business is building high-profile interest and clients, all wanting to use the world class infrastructure we are building and move on from the patchwork of facilities that currently exist. This is industry and the market endorsing the proposition we are building and showing their commitment to us. This letter highlights clearly the strong and growing commercial confidence the industry now has in the GCRE development.
“Partners and clients are understanding fully the transformative power of GCRE for their businesses and see a window of opportunity to get involved and use our facility. GCRE is a strong and growing business and the companies we have got support from highlight the momentum that now exists behind us.
“As the letter highlights, rail is at a critical moment in its history. It must be faster in developing new ideas and new technologies that can tackle the challenges of the future – the transition to net zero, the development of stronger multi-modal transport options and developing more cost-effective infrastructure for the future.
“Where that innovation happens is critical and this letter shows that companies see in the Global Centre of Rail Excellence a genuinely world class research, testing and certification facility where they can work to overcome those challenges.
“GCRE really is a once in a generation opportunity, something that can help make the UK a world leader in rail innovation technology and net zero transition.”
Elaine Clark, Chief Executive of the Rail Forum, many of whose members signed the letter, said:
“What people see in the Global Centre of Rail Excellence is the ability for their business to have access to a genuinely world class innovation facility that they can use to develop new ideas quicker, bring new products to market faster and to showcase those developments to potential clients; both from the UK and overseas.
“All of that they can do at the Global Centre of Rail Excellence. It’s a one-stop-shop where they will find international standard kit, knowhow and facilities that are unavailable anywhere else in Europe. It’s a place for the industry to develop new ideas and find a competitive advantage in the marketplace.
“We have to take the opportunity that’s in front of us to get GCRE built and to make the UK the best place in Europe and the world to undertake cutting edge rail innovation.”