Following privatization, UK Rail was divided into two main elements. In outline, the first element consisting of the national rail network (track, signaling, bridges, tunnels, stations and depots) and the second being the operating companies whose trains run on that network. Therefore, privatization of the UK rail industry has split the former British Rail into over 100 companies, most of which have developed web sites.
The Railway Forum, formed to represent the interests and views of the new breed of train operators and their suppliers, has a membership of over 50 of the largest UK rail industry companies. The Forum's site provides summaries and links to its members and publishes useful fact sheets and statistical information on topics such as levels of investment and rolling stock. The operators also have their own trade association ? the Association of Train Operating Companies or ATOC whose site includes summaries of national passenger surveys. The UK Railway Industry Association represents over 100 equipment and system suppliers, and its site includes links to the members and briefs about recent activities of those members.
The origins of the UK Railway Industry Association date back to 1875, when a number of independent steam locomotive builders grouped together to petition Parliament. They won their case and decided that it would be valuable to create a formal body for their mutual benefit. It was first known as the Locomotive Manufacturers Association of Great Britain and proved to be very effective in promoting its members' interests, both at home and overseas, and in such areas as coordinating development of technical standards.
Membership was widened to include manufacturers of all forms of rolling stock, including components suppliers, with a change of name to the Locomotive and Allied Manufacturers Association in 1957. Finally, the change to the UK Railway Industry Association was completed in 1971 with the inclusion of all parts of the supply UK rail industry. With the break-up and privatization of British Rail in the 1990s, many of the resulting supply-side companies joined UK Railway Industry Association as they moved into the private sector and membership has continued to grow.
UK Railway Industry Association provides a range of services to its member companies and helps railways around the world obtain railway equipment and services from the UK. The Office of the Rail Regulator and the Strategic Rail Authority handles regulation of the UK rail industry jointly. The Office of the Rail Regulator approves access agreements, enforces competition law and protects the public interest. The Strategic Rail Authority provides the strategic direction for the UK rail industry and manages the passenger franchises.
Today railroads are competing for qualified workers like they've never had to before. Young people sign up, but quickly become fed up, and walk away. Still the hard work of thousands people provides comfort and safety for the passengers.