The leading event for the UK rail industry

10 March 2020

Hilton Tower Bridge, Tooley Street, London

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Get up to speed on the most pressing issues facing the British rail industry – the event which offers unique access to leading figures from TOCs, ROSCOs, Network Rail and a whole host of transport bodies from across the UK.

Following the highly-anticipated Williams Review and HS2 Review, Accelerate: Rail 2020 comes at a water-shed moment for the rail industry to reflect on the significance of 2019 and CP6, and make progressive strides towards the future. Join us in March 2020 to explore key themes including:

Customer experience

Unpack the phrase ‘Put Passengers First’ – learn from Transport Focus and the Rail Delivery Group and be inspired by leaders such as Southeastern, who have been unafraid to break the status quo and deliver unprecedented results for their customers.

Regional devolution

Get an update on CP6’s new regional model from Network Rail‘s CEO, hear about vertical integration from Transport for Wales and take home insights from powerful Northern leaders on how you can increase regional accountability and engage local decision making.


Sustainability, investing in alternative fuels and going green is high on everyone’s agenda – don’t miss these honest sessions from Lilian Greenwood MP, Transport Scotland and Porterbrook about making green choices for future generations.

The future of ticketing

Two new and exclusive case studies from LNER’s Fare Reform and Trainline’s CEO speaking about the role of AI in the ticketing experience – find out how you can use live tweets to predict disruption and big data to predict price rises for journeys.

The Digital Railway

Technology is overhauling rail infrastructure and planning strategically for future technological innovation is imperative. Unmissable insights from Banedenmark and the National Skills Academy Rail will show you how to attract a skilled, gender-balanced workforce to construct the Digital Railway, and how you can implement a digital railway across the entire rail network.


Look beyond the tracks and seek to understand how rail will link up with other modes of public transport in the future. Presentations from Transport for West Midlands and ViaVan will explore how TOCs can meet evolving passenger expectations for seamless travel, including collaborating with firms such as Uber to provide ‘first and last mile’ services.


Andrew Haines Network Rail

Andrew Haines

Chief Executive Officer, Network Rail

Lilian Greenwood

Lilian Greenwood MP

Chair, Transport Select Committee

Clare Gilmartin, Trainline, Accelerate Rail Conference

Clare Gilmartin

Chief Executive Officer, Trainline

John Larkinson, Office of Rail and Road, Accelerate Rail Infrastructure

John Larkinson

Chief Executive Officer, Office of Rail and Road

Tim Shoveller, Network Rail, Accelerate Rail Conference

Tim Shoveller

Regional Managing Director for North West and Central, Network Rail

Steve White, GTR, Accelerate Rail Conference

Steve White

Chief Operating Officer, GTR

Dyan Crowther, High Speed 1, Accelerate Rail Conference

Dyan Crowther

Chief Executive Officer, High Speed 1

James Price Transport for Wales

James Price

Chief Executive Officer, Transport for Wales

More Speakers


With three tracks covering six key topics, we are making sure you can tailor your programme to tackle your most urgent objectives.

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Accelerate: Rail Conference Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Session 1

Providing answers - the Williams Review and CP6

Keynote address | The Williams Review

Reflecting on the Williams Review: a view to the future

Reflecting on his highly anticipated report, Keith explains his proposals to reform the existing system. What does the future franchising system look like? What will be the greatest challenges implementing his recommendations? Looking ahead, how will this Review shape the future of British rail?


Andrew Haines, Chief Executive, Network Rail

  • One year in: what have been the greatest successes of CP6 so far and what does the future hold?
  • ‘Putting passengers first’: has customer service become an ingrained ethos at Network Rail?
  • How will Network Rail ensure the success of CP6 devolution and increased regional accountability?
  • Frustration with franchising: do we finally have a solution that works for stakeholders?

Andrew Haines Network Rail
Andrew Haines

Chief Executive Officer , Network Rail

Changing Track: The Future of Rail in the UK

  • Reflecting on the impact of the Williams Review, what are the steps industry must take to remain integral to the UK transport system?
  • As CP6 rolls on, are the current planning horizons sufficient to help ensure Rail is fit for the long-term future
  • Putting passengers first is central to the agenda – are we clear on what they really want? And how to deliver it?
  • What are the data, technology and cultural innovations that can guarantee that the industry’s future will be brighter than its past?

Charlotte Warburton PA Consulting
Charlotte Warburton

Global Head of Rail , PA Consulting

Leaders’ forum

Reforming rail: increasing trust and performance

  • What progress has been made since the publication of the Williams Review last autumn?
  • How will the recommendations from the Williams Review impact different players in rail?
  • In concrete terms, what are the plans going forwards to implement the Review’s recommendations?
  • What is the right level of Government involvement in day-to-day operations of the rail industry?
  • Would greater ‘vertical integration’ between track and train improve the UK system?
  • Does the new system encourage more long-term investment from the private sector?
  • How can cross-industry collaboration facilitate change and find solutions?

Andrew Haines Network Rail
Andrew Haines

Chief Executive Officer , Network Rail

Dyan Crowther, High Speed 1, Accelerate Rail Conference
Dyan Crowther

Chief Executive Officer , High Speed 1

Steve White, GTR, Accelerate Rail Conference
Steve White

Chief Operating Officer , GTR

Tom Joyner, CrossCountry Trains, Accelerate Rail Conference
Tom Joyner

Managing Director , CrossCountry Trains

Session 2

Click here for our tracks: The Digital Railway | Regional Devolution | The future of ticketing

The Digital Railway - Unlocking the technology needed to increase capacity
Regional Devolution - Tapping into local knowledge and increasing accountability
The future of ticketing - Seamless, paperless, cashless travel

Your passengers want streaming internet video. Give it to them.

  • Along with increased mobile usage, consumer preferences are shifting away from linear TV and walled-garden video-on-demand (VOD) toward direct-to-consumer streaming internet video.  Content providers (e.g., BBC, Amazon, Netflix) are  investing in tens of billions of dollars to disrupt traditional video models. How will this affect rail operators internet service?
  • Rail passengers have been largely unable to participate in this rich video ecosystem while rail operators are hesitant to invest in expensive infrastructure, what’s the solution?
  • Technological advances are now enabling streaming internet video without the increase to cellular costs.  What are the benefits and business value in this technological breakthrough?

Speaker placeholder
Siegfried Luft

Co-Founder, President & CEO , Netskrt

International spotlight

Implementing a digital railway across the entire rail network

Since 2008, Denmark has been implementing digital signalling across its entire network. The investment in ETCS is a major step in the railway revolution and over the next 10-years will invest more than €3 billion in digitalisation and automation of its network through their European Rail Traffic Management System (ERTMS) initiative. This case study offers a unique opportunity to understand the challenges that face rail network operators and the ways in which digital rail is set to revolutionise Denmark’s rail system.

Jan Schneider-Tilli, Accelerate: Rail Infrastructure, Baendenmark
Jan Schneider-Tilli

Programme Director - Signalling , Banedanmark

A collaborative process: the digital journey

  • How can new track-side technology increase efficiency and capacity?
  • How can we make sure that the system is flexible to incorporate evolving technology in the future?
  • What are the main challenges of standardising ETCS Level 3?
  • How will GSM-R improve communications between drivers and signallers and help reduce delays?
  • How can Network Rail sustain a long-term vision for the Digital Railway to prosper in the future?

Alex Burrows, BCRRE, Accelerate Rail Conference
Alex Burrows

Managing Director , Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education

Case study

Technology improving inter-city connectivity

  • What role will technology play in delivering greater efficiency to the TransPennine route?
  • What are the plans for a passenger information communication systems?
  • Investing in technology: how will ETCS modernise the route and increase capacity?
  • What are the obstacles with fitting digital signalling on old fleets and how can they be rectified?

Preparing for the future: training a skilled workforce to construct the Digital Railway

  • What are the benefits of building and investing in a highly-skilled workforce in the UK?
  • Can the UK become a global leader in skills development?
  • How can rail address the gender imbalance and increase diversity in the industry?
  • Mind the skills gap: how can rail attract the talent and skills needed for the future of Digital Railway in the UK?

Neil Robertson National Skills Academy for Rail
Neil Robertson

Chief Executive Officer , National Skills Academy for Rail

Case study | Wales

Vertical Integration: a sign of what’s to come?

In the first deal of its kind since privatisation in the 1990s, last year Network Rail sold off 137km of Valley Lines routes to the Welsh Government. Transport for Wales has promised to modernise the infrastructure and electrify the South Wales Metro. Has the deal provided an interesting model for Network Rail to implement vertical integration elsewhere in the UK? How will infrastructure ownership benefit Welsh rail?

James Price Transport for Wales
James Price

Chief Executive Officer , Transport for Wales

Devolution Revolution: evaluating the success of CP6’s regions

  • One year on: what have been the biggest successes and challenges of the new regional model?
  • How will the new model drive improvements and efficiency for Network Rail?
  • How does the new system impact regional procurement and work with suppliers?
  • How has greater devolution improved the commitment to ‘put passengers first’?

Tim Shoveller, Network Rail, Accelerate Rail Conference
Tim Shoveller

Regional Managing Director for North West and Central , Network Rail

Panel discussion

‘One Team: One North’ – coordinating regional devolution

  • How can Local Transport Authorities work to address ‘fragmentation’ and engage local decision making?
  • Why is it important for rail to work with regional knowledge?
  • How does rail fit into wider political devolution to the North?
  • How can sub-national transport bodies cooperate to ensure joined up decision making?
  • How can these benefits be passed on to the passenger?
  • How can the North make their voice heard in Westminster?

Alejandro Moreno, Midlands Metro Alliance, Accelerate Rail
Alejandro Moreno Moya

Alliance Director , Midland Metro Alliance

Ticket prices: delivering reform for passengers

  • Why aren’t TOCs and customers seeing eye-to-eye about ticket prices?
  • After the RDG fare consultation: what will it take for the industry to reform its fares?
  • Is a simpler and more flexible fare system the key to a modern, customer focused railway?
  • How can the industry better communicate with passengers the reasons behind rising fares?

Andy Bagnall, Rail Delivery Group, Accelerate Rail Conference
Andy Bagnall

Director, Strategy & Communications , Rail Delivery Group

Case study | LNER

Cutting prices, not corners

There are frequent demands for fare reform in the industry. The correlation between single leg fares and return prices currently don’t match up. This case study will look at whether single leg tickets can be reduced to create a more convenient, flexible and fairly priced experience for passengers.

Suzanne Donnelly, LNER, Accelerate Rail Conference
Suzanne Donnelly

Commercial and Marketing Director , LNER

Original solutions: how start-ups are using AI to pioneer a new passenger experience

Artificial Intelligence plays a crucial role in operations at tech start-ups. Start-ups are increasingly using big data to collate and predict prices for journey fares and provide personalized, real-time updates on a customer’s journey. This presentation shows how start-ups are using AI and big data to spearhead change in an often slow moving industry.

Clare Gilmartin, Trainline, Accelerate Rail Conference
Clare Gilmartin

Chief Executive Officer , Trainline

Panel discussion

Evolving expectations: the rise of ticketing technology

  • Putting the passenger in control: how can technology offer greater choice, time and freedom with ticketing?
  • How are tech start-ups shaking-up the ticketing industry?
  • The benefits for TOCs: how can smart ticketing decrease costs and improve efficiency, accuracy and security?
  • The rise of big data: what can TOCs learn about route usage, crowd movements and passenger preferences from the data provided by smart ticketing?
  • How is AI transforming smart ticketing?

Clare Gilmartin, Trainline, Accelerate Rail Conference
Clare Gilmartin

Chief Executive Officer , Trainline

Iain Griffin, SeatFrog, Accelerate Rail Conference
Iain Griffin

Chief Executive Officer and Founder , SeatFrog

Session 3

Click here for our tracks: 'De-Carbonisation' and Rolling Stock | Mobility-as-a-Service and Station transformation | Customer Experience

'De-Carbonisation' and Rolling Stock - Offering the lowest carbon transport
Mobility-as-a-Service and Station transformation - Creating new hubs at the heart of communities
Customer Experience - Striving for excellence

Putting de-carbonisation at the top of the government agenda

  • What is the Government’s policy on helping to de-carbonise rail in the UK?
  • Electrification has stalled: what other sustainable options are the Government going to provide funding for?
  • What lessons can the UK take from de-carbonisation success stories abroad?
  • Looking ahead: how can the UK make the right investments in sustainable options for rail now?

Lilian Greenwood
Lilian Greenwood MP

Chair , Transport Select Committee

Case study | Transport Scotland

Moving towards net zero emissions

This session covers Scotland’s approach to rail de-carbonisation – impressively 75% of passengers in Scotland already travel on zero-emission trains. Has Transport Scotland’s pipeline-based approach to rail project development helped the country move towards sustainable travel more effectively?

Bill Reeve, Transport for Scotland, Accelerate Rail Conference
Bill Reeve

Director of Rail , Transport Scotland

Fireside chat

New rolling stock: revolutionising the railways

  • How will rolling stock be affected by the new franchising system?
  • What is the future of rolling-stock financing?
  • To what extent does improved passenger experience override the difficulties and cost of extensive fleet renewal?
  • How are concerns about sustainability impacting rolling stock decisions?
  • What is the future of hydrogen trains in the UK?
  • Can the UK become a global leader investing in sustainable rail options?

Maggie Simpson, Rail Freight Group, Accelerate Conference
Maggie Simpson

Executive Director , Rail Freight Group

Mary Grant
Mary Grant

Chief Executive Officer , Porterbrook

International spotlight | ProRail

Mobility-as-a-Service in the Netherlands

In the next 10 years, Dutch rail infrastructure owner, ProRail is planning to invest €3.5 billion in the renovation of existing stations and the construction of 10-20 new stations to cope with predicted passenger growth of up to 40%. At the top of the agenda is the need to create links between rail and other forms of public transport to build a seamless travel experience for passengers. In this session Astrid brings a Dutch perspective to the biggest challenges, design changes and technological advances set to shape the future of our train stations.

Astrid Bunt, ProRail, Accelerate Rail Conference
Astrid Bunt

Director of Stations , ProRail

Transforming stations to meet 21st century needs

  • Optimising assets: what additional services can be provided at stations to enhance the customer experience and seamless travel?
  • How can stations act as public transport hubs and facilitate MaaS?
  • How can biometric technology be used to reduce the average passenger’s journey time through stations?
  • How can data analysis help predict demand and model scenarios to better design future stations for passengers and staff?

Fireside chat

Integrated futures: looking beyond the tracks

  • Every rail journey is multi-modal: how can TOCs collaborate with start-ups to provide ‘first and last mile’ services?
  • How can GPS and live data provided by TOCs help passengers plan their journeys more effectively?
  • How can technological innovation help solve the challenges of our increasingly complex transport network?
  • What can rail learn from start-ups outside the industry?

Jess Oppetit, ViaVan, Accelerate Rail Conference
Jess Oppetit

General Manager , ViaVan

Chris Lane, Transport for West Midlands, Accelerate Rail Conference
Chris Lane

Head of Smart Travel , Transport for West Midlands

What does ‘putting passengers first’ mean in practice?

In this session Anthony discusses the main findings from the National Rail Passenger Survey. Each year Transport Focus consults more than 50,000 passengers about their experience of rail travel in the UK, and the report is used as a key performance indicator in most franchise competitions. Anthony explains what passengers want and expect from rail services, what strategies have been successful and what lessons can be learned going forwards.

Sharon Hedges, Transport Focus, Accelerate Rail Conference
Sharon Hedges

Franchise Programme Manager , Transport Focus

Case study | Southeastern

The success of Southeastern’s ambassadors

  • Are simple solutions the most effective?
  • What are the challenges of designing a new customer service culture?
  • How can thinking ‘outside the box’ trigger innovative solutions to improve passenger experience?
  • Engaging employees effectively: how can TOCs create an empowered and empathetic workforce?

Diane Burke, Southeastern, Accelerate Rail Conference
Diane Burke

Commercial Director , Southeastern

Fireside chat

Investing in technology to improve customer experience

  • From booking online to the on-board experience, how can TOCs create a seamless customer experience?
  • Personalising the experience: how can TOCs provide real-time information to passengers in times of uncertainty?
  • What technology can TOCs invest in to enhance on-board customer experience?
  • Ensuring passengers walk away satisfied: how can TOCs design successful feedback mechanisms from the frontline?

Jacqueline Starr, Rail Delivery Group, Accelerate Rail Conference
Jacqueline Starr

Chief Operating Officer , Rail Delivery Group

Eleni Jordan, Chiltern Railways, Accelerate Rail Conference
Eleni Jordan

Commercial Director , Chiltern Railways

Martin Moran
Martin Moran

Commercial and Customer Service Director , Abellio Greater Anglia

Session 4

The future of British Rail

Keynote address

Holding Network Rail accountable in CP6

  • How has greater devolution in CP6 ensured Network Rail is more focused on local priorities?
  • How can the ORR continue to support regional devolution?

John Larkinson, Office of Rail and Road, Accelerate Rail Infrastructure
John Larkinson

Chief Executive Officer , Office of Rail and Road

Closing keynote

A vision for the future

Speaker invited, Chris Heaton-Harris, Minister of State, Department for Transport


Chair's closing remarks and drinks reception

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1 day conference pass, lunch & refreshments and a drinks reception

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Hilton Tower Bridge, Tooley Street, London

Hilton Tower Bridge, London

5 Moore London Place, Tooley Street, London SE1 2BY

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