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General Information
The date when the cluster organisation was established: 
Tuesday, 1 January, 2008
Number of staff in the management team of the cluster organisation : 
6-10
Regions: 
Herefordshire
Membership to European Strategic Cluster Partnerships (ESCP-4i or ESCP-S3): 
Membership to other networks/partnerships: 
Cluster Management Team: 
NameSurnamePositionTelephoneEmail
Robert
Hopkin
Cluster Manager
+44 1789 720026
robert.hopkin@railalliance.co.uk
Lucy
Prior
Project Manager
+44 1789 720026
lucy.prior@railalliance.co.uk
Languages spoken: 
English
French
Spanish
Sectoral and Industrial Focus
Sectoral Industries: 
Transportation and Logistics
Technology fields: 
System and transportation
Railway Vehicles
S3 EU priority areas: 
Advanced manufacturing systems
High speed rail-road transportation systems
Emerging industries: 
Digital Industries
Logistical Services
Areas of specialisation of the cluster not covered above: 
Cyber Security
Composition of the cluster
Total number of members: 
420
Number of SME members: 
300
Number of start-ups among SME members: 
5
Number of larger company members: 
80
Number of research organisations/universities/technology centres: 
20
Number of other ecosystem actors : 
0
Entrepreneurship and scale-up support facilities in the cluster's ecosystem (see "Organisation type"): 
Name and link of major players: 
NameWebsiteType
Birmingham Centre for Rail Research and Education
University
Cluster Strategy
Mission/Objectives: 

Rail Alliance Networking Events – Serving its members with activities designed to promote success and growth, the Rail Alliance specialises in delivering high quality industry themed events with excellent networking opportunities. Typically there is at least one networking event every month at carefully selected venues and locations. We are constantly adding to our events programme and recommend that you check the Rail Alliance website www.railalliance.co.uk/rail-alliance-networking-events/ regularly for the latest details – although you will receive regular newsletters with information on the events coming up. Please do follow us on twitter @therailalliance  / #RAEvents for updates on a regular basis.

Rail Alliance Exhibitions- The Rail Alliance has two key supply chain industry events that it runs – Rail Live  and specialist railway lighting expo – Light after Dark

3rd Party Exhibitions & Conferences – RailtexInfrarailInnoTransAdvanced EngineeringRVE are the big industry events at which the Rail Alliance will always be found, in addition to supporting a variety of relevant conferences and seminars and carefully selected trade fairs. At specific trade fairs we offer members a place on the Rail Alliance Hub guaranteeing a heightened presence, and we are able to negotiate various exclusive discounts for members at many other conferences and events.

Route-to-market support and advice – We offer a variety of ways in which we can help companies established in rail, and those new to the sector and our focus is always on supporting our members – from face-to-face introductions at our events to tailored introductions up and down the supply chain as is relevant to your company.  Some of the specific areas we can with include:

Product Approvals & Acceptance Processes – we have extensive knowledge across the team of this area.

Export & International Support – The Rail Alliance is an accredited “Trade Challenge Partner” to the Department for International Trade.  Please see railalliance.co.uk/international-erci/ for regular updates on export opportunities.  We are also a founding member of the ERCI (European Regional Clusters Initiative). The 11 member clusters represent more than 1,000 companies from the industry from all over Europe –http://www.eurailclusters.com/index.html.

Representing our members – behind the scenes we sit on a number of significant closed industry meetings, the information from which we use to further support our services – including the Rail Delivery Group, Network Rail’s Directors Forum, RISQS and several more. Our Chairman is Secretariat to the Rail Supply Group (RSG) giving the Rail Alliance and its members an important platform to help shape the UK strategy for rail.

Marketing support – We are very active on social media (Twitter and LinkedIn) and encourage all of our members to follow and tag us on twitter.  We can also produce member case studies to publish on our website in addition to sharing news stories. We are extremely proud of the strong media relationships that we have with all of the mainstream rail, manufacturing and engineering publications – including: RAILModern RailwaysRail NewsIRJRailway GazetteLondon ReconnectionsEuropean Railway ReviewRail Technology NewsRail InfrastructureRail ProfessionalTransport for Britain, The Manufacturer – to mention a few.

Provision of an international test & trial scheme “Test Voucher Scheme” or otherwise known as TVS – We provide companies access to an approved test & trials centre – one of several in the UK. The Rail Safety and Standards Board’s (RSSB) Test Voucher Scheme (TVS) gives up to (typically) three days subsidised access to test and trials facilities within the UK to assist UK-based companies in developing their products, goods and services for the rail sector.  For more information please click HERE.

Typically, this assistance is offered to companies transiting through the latter stages of the product development programme. Depending on individual requirements this may include test loop and infrastructure, traction, rolling stock and trials staff time.

Access to R&D/I – we work closely with a number of specialist rail research universities throughout the UK. Should you be looking to collaborate with academia to support in-house research please let us know and we can introduce you to the relevant university/universities.  Academic collaborations can take many forms ranging from outsourcing R&D for a specific project, working with a university on a KTP (Knowledge Transfer Placement) or year in industry placements, amongst others.  We can also provide information on upcoming R&D grants under Horizon2020Shift2Rail, RSSB and Innovate UK calls and through our ERCI network (more below) can potentially introduce you to international R&D/I partners.

Specialised industry support programmes – including:

  • Get into Rail – we run workshops across the UK designed to help organisation navigate their way through the complex landscape of the rail sector. The Rail Alliance works closely with the Welsh Government as well as with the Scottish Enterprise and the Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service (SMAS) and others to deliver rail supply chain events.
  • BS11000 Collaboration Courses – the world’s first national standard for Collaborative Business Relationships – has been embraced by Network Rail as part of their ‘Alliancing’ philosophy in delivering over £3Bn worth of infrastructure projects collaboratively and is of increasing import to the rolling stock fraternity and others. Please note that Rail Alliance members are eligible for discounted training fees.
  • Rail Mentor Scheme – I attach a copy of the mentor flier; this is a free service we run on behalf of the Rail Supply Group.  Please take a look at the website for full details and also to register for the scheme   www.railmentor.com.  If you have any questions on the scheme and want to talk over these before registering, John Beale john.beale@railalliance.co.uk (Programme Manager) can give you more information.
  • Formula Rail – delivers the platform, conditions and expertise for enabling procurement of new and innovative supplier solutions. Formula Rail is simply a smarter way for buyers and suppliers to work together to source the best performing and best value ideas, products and services.

EEF Affiliate Membership – we are pleased to confirm that through the Rail Alliance’s partnership with EEF, The Manufacturers’ Organisation, you, as a member of Rail Alliance are entitled to free Affiliate Membership of EEF.  EEF is the voice of UK manufacturing and engineering and a leading provider of business support. Your affiliate membership provides access to a wide range of industry intelligence, resources and insight, policy representation, networking events and the EEF member Advantages Scheme.

 Rail Alliance Member Login on the Website – this is a bespoke area specifically for use by Rail Alliance members where you will find all the presentations stored for previous events, discount codes to conferences/exhibitions, tender opportunities, notice board alerts/messages from other members, press release upload portal, and many other valuable resources!

Do you have a formalised strategy?: 
No
Do you have a specific strategy focus that addresses internationalisation ?: 
Yes
Services
Support services provided: 
Access to public support (regional/national programmes, innovation vouchers, etc.)
Facilitation of collaboration between members
Promotion of activities (marketing/ visibility)
Innovation Management / Support of innovation processes (internal, external)
Cooperation Activities
International Cooperation
The main countries targeted by the cluster organisation: 
Australia
Colombia
Saudi Arabia
Our cluster organisation undertook the following international activities to support our members: 
Participation at missions/events/study visits/fairs
Trans-national Cooperation
The main countries targeted by the cluster organisation: 
France
Germany
Italy
Poland
Sweden
Which clusters do you collaborate with?: 
DITECFER Tuscany (Europe)
CNA Bavaria (Europe)
BTS Saxony (Europe)
Inno-Pro Karup (Europe)
iTrans, Famars (Europe)
Vasteras, Sweden (Europe)
Logistics Wallonia (Europe)
Southern Railway Cluster, Poland (Europe)
Railgrup, Spain (Europe)
Support Programmes
Participation in Funded Support Programmes: 
European Programmes
H2020
Promotion
Why should partners choose you for cooperation?: 

We have the largest reach in the UK to Rail Supply Chain

We are trained in ISO 44001 (Collabaorative Business Relationships)

We facilitate/stage the largest outdoor exhibition for the Rail Sector each year (Rail Live) - 300+ exhiibitors (probably only second to the Munster Show in scale)