Guest Blog: Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain


Guest Blog: Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain

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Daisy Chapman-Chamberlain is the Innovation Manager at East West Railway Company and self-described ‘Queen of the Railways’. She writes a regular guest blog for Routes into Rail about the interesting and innovative projects happening in rail.

Regardless of the outcome of the upcoming election, the rail sector must present a clear vision of its future. We need to work together to plan this future and how we will collectively make it a reality.

The focus should be on the key messages, regardless of who comes into power. That is the best chance of future success. There are, I think, three main challenges rail must address.

The first is sustainability. Rail is a huge part of achieving national sustainability and net zero goals. We need to plan, as a sector, a programme for the electrification of the railway. We need to be talking about other sustainable technologies like battery power, which, for example, East West Railway Company is now actively exploring for its project.

Second is skills – the people the sector needs to realise its future. Rail will require thousands of new professionals to meet the demand generated by big new projects and replace retirees. We need to ensure a downward transfer of knowledge from the experts who have been in the sector for decades to the new people coming in.

Third is meeting the needs of all our passengers. Rail must adapt to changing customer requirements and increased passenger numbers. The sector also has a way to go with inclusion – rail travel must be accessible for everyone.

These key challenges can be solved through collaboration and learning from each other. We need to make the industry more attractive to young people. Rail has a high proportion of workers over 50, which means many people will retire from the sector in the next decade – so there is a fantastic opportunity for these workers to share their knowledge and experience with the next generation. They have the strongest insights into the most successful ways to address challenges. Then we need young people to bring forward these ideas and make them a reality.

Addressing these issues will require innovation and new technologies. There are so many upcoming opportunities in the sector to realise modernisation and digitisation. The rail sector has to consider how it will use modern technology to address challenges and make processes easier and safer overall. For example, predictive maintenance and sensors will be hugely important for Network Rail as we move beyond traditional processes for track maintenance.

Rail is not a sector that is sitting back and doing things the way we have always done them. It is pushing to improve. We know we need to work collaboratively and present a united front to create a sector that is ready for the future.

You can follow Daisy on LinkedIn and X.