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Tue June 15 2021

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Network Rail agrees to give export references to suppliers

11 May 20 Network Rail has decided that as of May 2020 it will offer its suppliers the references they need to support overseas contract bids or export opportunities.

Until now, Network Rail has offered no such support to its supply chain or the British economy.

But from now, Network Rail suppliers have the option to request a reference in writing, either on completion of a contract or after 12 months of continuous work.

Network Rail’s move to provide references for any supplier with overseas growth ambitions is tied in with the industrial sector deal struck between the government and the rail industry to exploit opportunities in the global rail sector.

Network Rail commercial director Clive Berrington 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.”

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Darren Caplan, chief executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA), 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.”

Unipart Rail managing director Noel Travers 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.”

Details of the supplier reference process are available at

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