Over 100 leading entities in the industry have endorsed a letter advocating for the establishment of the Global Centre of Rail Excellence (GCRE) project, which aims to create the world’s integrated train and rail infrastructure testing facility in the Dulais Valley.
Companies signing the letter include HS1, Hitachi, X-Rail, Keltbray, Thales and British Steel.
The Welsh Government's £400m initiative will feature two electrified rail track testing loops. The longer loop stretches 6.9 kilometres, designed for high-speed rolling stock testing at speeds up to 177km per hour, while the shorter 4-kilometre loop can accommodate speeds of 65km per hour.
Additionally, the facility will have the capability to evaluate innovative advancements like hydrogen-powered rolling stock and infrastructure elements.
The majority of organisations signing the letter agree that such a facility would be invaluable for their operations.
This letter emphasizes the pressing issues the rail sector will confront in the near future, ranging from achieving Net Zero to reducing rail expenses. It underscores the immediate need for a dedicated research, testing, and innovation site to address these challenges, focusing on rolling stock, infrastructure, and emerging technologies.
Chief Executive of GCRE Limited, Simon Jones said:
“It’s fantastic to see the number and diverse range of companies signing up to this letter endorsing the exciting Global Centre of Rail Excellence vision and seeing commercial benefit in it for their businesses and the wider industry.
What’s pleasing are that companies large and small have signed the letter, many from across Europe and with a reach and presence in all quarters of the continent.
That’s because what we will have at GCRE will be unique to Europe – a facility that in terms of services such as infrastructure testing, is replicated nowhere else. This proves once again that the commitment and customer base for the GCRE business is very strong and the commercial appetite is there from across Europe.
“Our business is building high-profile interest and clients, all wanting to use the world class infrastructure we are building and move on from the patchwork of facilities that currently exist. This is industry and the market endorsing the proposition we are building and showing their commitment to us. This letter highlights clearly the strong and growing commercial confidence the industry now has in the GCRE development.
“Partners and clients are understanding fully the transformative power of GCRE for their businesses and see a window of opportunity to get involved and use our facility. GCRE is a strong and growing business and the companies we have got support from highlight the momentum that now exists behind us.
“As the letter highlights, rail is at a critical moment in its history. It must be faster in developing new ideas and new technologies that can tackle the challenges of the future – the transition to net zero, the development of stronger multi-modal transport options and developing more cost-effective infrastructure for the future.