Rail Week, the brainchild of the professional networking association Young Rail Professionals (YRP), launches on Monday 27th June, with a series of events dedicated to address the skills shortage in the rail industry by inspiring a generation of young people to consider careers in rail. More than 150 bespoke site visits, educational activities and behind-the-scenes events, as well as dozens of inspiring STEM school outreach sessions, will take place throughout the week up and down the country.

Events will be hosted by more than 70 organisations from across the railway industry. Highlights include a tour of the Farringdon Crossrail station in central London hosted by engineering consultancy Bechtel. Other events include a tour of the control centre for the Merseyrail network in Liverpool, visits to the Bombardier train manufacturing facility in Derby and the ‘Rocket to Bullet’ exhibition at the National Railway Museum, York. Meanwhile, Transport for London will be showcasing the complex rebuilding of Bank station, one of the largest upcoming investment projects on the London Underground network, and hosting visitors at Stratford Market depot on the Jubilee Line.

Rail Week is being supported by the Department for Transport, the Department for Business Innovation & Skills and the High Speed Rail Industry Leaders, amongst a number of key industry bodies.

Speaking ahead of Rail Week, Sabrina Ihaddaden, National Chair of Young Rail Professionals, said:

By getting the whole sector involved in Rail Week, we can collectively bridge the skills gap and celebrate the great careers in rail. It is important that companies across the sector and country get involved so we can truly represent the industry and inspire the next generation.

Claire Perry, Rail Minister, said:

We are making the biggest investment in the railways since the Victorian era, with major projects such as HS2 and Crossrail improving journeys for passengers right across the country.

The career opportunities in rail are huge. And we need skilled young people – men and women – to build a future in the rail industry and help us deliver these projects.

Who doesn’t remember waving at a train as a child and the excitement we felt? It’s a question of harnessing that enthusiasm and helping young people understand what the possibilities are in rail.

That is what Rail Week is doing. I am delighted to support it and I applaud the Young Rail Professionals’ initiative in making it a reality.

Mike Brown MVO, TfL’s Commissioner, said:

We are proud to support Rail Week by hosting a number of events, including a tour of the exciting work that is taking place to modernise Bank/Monument Underground station. To keep the city moving, working and growing, it is vital that we inspire the next generation to consider careers in the transport industry. Many young people are not aware of the diversity of careers in rail, and too many young women think that a career in rail is not for them.

Rail Week gives us the opportunity to change those perceptions and showcase careers for all young people, whether in engineering, quantity surveying, customer services and a huge variety of other roles.

Nicola Shaw, CEO of HS1 Ltd and author of the recent Shaw Report into the future of Network Rail:

The long-term future of the sector is dependent upon drawing in ever more diverse talent to the fantastic careers that are available in rail. Initiatives like Rail Week are commendable for the work that they do in highlighting what the rail industry has to offer young people and graduates, and I’m delighted to support them in encouraging people to consider a career in the sector.

The Transport Infrastructure Skills Strategy, published in January 2016, has a stated aim of creating an additional 30,000 new apprenticeships by 2020. Rail Week provides an opportunity to progress and achieve these goals, paving the way for the whole transport sector to get involved in similar initiatives in the future.

For further information, contact:

Rachael Shanahan, rachael.shanahan@wearefield.co.uk or on 0207 096 2231

Notes to Editors


Research commissioned by industry bodies RSSB and the National Skills Academy for Rail in October 2015 found that the economic cost of the skills gap in the rail sector was calculated at £206m per year at present, rising to £316m per year by 2024. Rail Week additionally supports the Rail Supply Group’s goal to more than double export volumes and values by 2025.

Rail Week

  • Rail week will run from Monday 27th June to Sunday 3rd July 2016-06
  • Further information on Rail Week can be found at www.railweek.com or email hello@railweek.com
  • Rail Week is being delivered by Young Rail Professionals with support from Department for Transport (DfT), Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS), Rail Industry Association (RIA), Rail Alliance (RA) and High Speed Rail Industry Leaders (HSRIL)
  • Over 70 companies throughout the UK have also supported Rail Week including Network Rail, Transport for London (TfL), High Speed 2 (HS2), and Crossrail.

Young Rail Professionals (YRP)

  • YRP was founded in 2009 to promote, inspire and develop the next generation of railway talent and is open to any young rail professional.
  • The organisation brings together people from all aspects of the industry, whether they are involved in engineering, asset management, train operations, strategic planning, maintenance, franchising, regulation, marketing or human relations
  • The YRP delivers Networking and Professional Development opportunities including technical seminars, presentations, site visits and socials. The organisation works closely with a number of professional institutions, running regular events with the Railway Study Association, Institute of Railway Operators and Women in Rail