On Tuesday, the West Coast Partnership brought together industry experts and senior politicians to discuss the future of rail at our second annual virtual stakeholder conference. Thank you to the 200 of our stakeholders who were able to join the conference. You can read our press release and watch a recording of the conference here.
The virtual conference saw keynote speeches from Rail Minister Wendy Morton, and Shadow Rail Minister Tan Dhesi, followed by updates from WCP on how the business is attracting passengers back to rail post-Covid, and building the future high speed network. There were also two panel sessions on ensuring Great British Railways delivers for passengers and the role of rail in levelling up, with Rufus Boyd (Great British Railways Transition Team), Andy Street (Mayor of the West Midlands), Darren Caplan (Railway Industry Association), Louise Collins (Transport Focus), Steve Montgomery (First Rail), Lord McLoughlin (Transport for the North) and John Foster (CBI) all joining for these discussions.
There was fantastic engagement from attendees with contributions from across all the regions along the West Coast Mainline, including key voices from the rail sector, MPs, senior local government figures and business leaders. Having heard previous feedback from stakeholders wanting a more interactive approach to the conference, there were Q&A opportunities throughout, with more than 50 attendee questions asked and answered.
Opening the conference, Rail Minister Wendy Morton said: “Rebuilding trust, renewing infrastructure and reforming rail - this is my focus for reviving one of our great industries, because a leading world economy needs a reliable, resilient and efficient network. One that continues to shape our lives in a positive way, as it has done for 200 years.”
Shadow Rail Minister Tan Dhesi said: “The West Coast Partnership Stakeholder Conference was a great opportunity to discuss the UK railway’s future and what we can deliver for passengers travelling on our network.”
Andy Street, the Mayor of the West Midlands, said: “I was pleased to be able to participate in the West Coast Partnership’s Stakeholder conference. Events like this provide an important moment to collectively reflect on, shape, and discuss the future of rail, which has a critical role to play as we bounce back from the Covid and for the future of the West Midlands.”
We would also appreciate if you could complete a short survey on the conference here - your feedback will help shape next year's conference.