Property as an enabler for tomorrow’s railway
01 September 2023
Visionary engineers Brunel and Stephenson did more than simply design and commission the infrastructure that heralded the golden age of rail. They were entrepreneurs, pioneers of the early days of the Industrial Revolution who saw a huge opportunity to disrupt slow and inefficient transportation by Turnpike and Waterway with rail systems and steam power. That spirit ignited a flame, bringing investors on board with the promise of innovation, modernisation and a good return on capital.
Today’s rail industry struggles to accommodate the rapid pace and ever-changing demands of the modern world, especially relating to the property sector. The Hansford Review emphasised the need for change in rail industry culture, advocating greater appetite for collaboration, redefined risk-sharing mechanisms, and more effective stakeholder engagement. It called for the sector to embrace innovation, diversify participation and harness commercially led funding - a paradigm shift that BWB is renowned for promoting.
Understanding and overcoming challenges presented by this evolving landscape is where BWB shines. Recent industry introspections, from the Hansford Review’s advocacy for collaboration to the Williams Review’s examination of rail service structure, underscore the need for an adaptive, collaborative approach in rail. Williams highlighted the importance of value for money, clearer accountabilities, and enhanced collaboration; the very areas where BWB’s expertise, honed within the property sector, can truly add value.
BWB is well-positioned to bridge this divide. We endorse and align with Hansford’s vision, embracing disruptive third-party expertise and Williams’ emphasis on clear accountabilities and value-driven collaboration. Our expertise and insight can help the rail sector navigate the capricious demands of modern development, without compromising safety, compliance and passenger experience. By embracing collaboration, we bring the best of both worlds: the commercial agility of property developers and the robust, safety-first approach of rail specialists.
Bridging the differences between these sectors is essential for a successful and enduring legacy. We don’t simply provide solutions to technical problems; we listen, interpret, and promote holistic commercially led, sustainable solutions.
We recognise the programme challenges imposed by compliance, innovation, stakeholder engagement and sustainability, whilst also seeing opportunities they present. Our solution-oriented mindset means we’re committed to delivering value through efficiency, innovation, and fresh perspective.
There must be an alternative future where rail doesn’t just adapt but thrives by enabling development and stimulating investment. In developing tomorrow’s railway engineers today, our ethos rekindles that pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit that enabled Britain to lead the world in railway engineering.