Who spoke at the 2017 RIA parliamentary reception?

Houses of Parliament

On the 24th October, 2017, Darren Caplan, Chief Executive of the Railway Industry Association (RIA) welcomed guests to the Houses of Parliment. The purpose of the event in my mind was two-fold. Firstly, to give RIA guests and members the opportunity to meet with parliamentarians and other members. Secondly, to allow the relatively new (been in his role under 12-months) Chief Exec, to draw a line in the sand and state the re-focused objectives of RIA… and what could be a better statement than hosting the event here!

Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP

The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport, delivered the keynote address. Kudos to him for starting off his speech by explaining why he’d scrapped the £500m investment in electrification. His thinking was that, if this alone didn’t deliver any journey time reductions, then it wasn’t worth doing. I see his point, although some might disagree!

Stephen Hammond MP

The former Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond MP, gave a light-hearted speech, between the Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP and Darren Caplan.

Olivier Andre

Olivier Andre

Heading up Porterbrook’s commercial interests is Olivier Andre, their Commercial Director.

Eli Rees-King

Eli Rees-King, Marketing Communications Manager at Rail Alliance, seen this time in front of the lens, rather than behind one!

Neil Robertson

Even with the possibility of Scotland breaking away and creating their own Parliment, they were kind enough to let the proud Glaswegian, Neil Robertson, through the gates. Neil is the Chief Exec of NSAR, seen here with Darren Caplan, Chief Exec of RIA.


An overall attendance of 200+ railway professionals. The lesson here is that if you want everyone to attend your party, just have it at the Houses of Parliament!

Shamit Gaiger

Great to catch up with Shamit Gaiger. A lady who wears many hats, with roles with RSSB, NSAR and DfT.

Ed Pakenham and I

I smuggled in a non-railway person to the event to show him the potential of the industry. Ed Pakenham supplies food to the aviation sector, through his global company, MileOne Group, and perhaps one day, to a food cart coming down your aisle!

Roy Freeland

Earlier in the day I took part in a focus group to help set the future direction of RIA. This is where I was lucky enough to meet the President of Perpetuum, Roy Freeland (left). Seen here with the former Transport Minister, Stephen Hammond MP.

Rob Baxter

Although it’s always a pleasure to see Rob Baxter (centre of picture in blue suit and brown shoes) wearing a tailored suit, this picture really doesn’t help us get away from the fact that there really isn’t enough diversity in the rail industry.

Three isn’t always a crowd

The meeting of great minds… and we can only wonder what they were talking about!

Simon Whitehouse

RIA members, including Simon Whitehouse from Ricardo Rail (red and blue tie), network on the outside terrace overlooking the Thames.

Yum yum

I thought I’d include this picture in case you wondered what they serve for tea and cakes at the Houses of Parliament.

Big Ben

In years to come, you’ll be able to date this picture because of Big Ben’s scaffolding.

RIA team

As the event comes to an end all that is left to do is to say a big thank you to our hosts, RIA.