On the right track

Finding out
about the rail industry is as easy with a keyboard as standing on the end of a
platform with a pen, notebook and binoculars. Phil Boucher reviews some
of the most interesting and gives them a rating out of five


l This is the sister site of the 165-year-old Railway
magazine and, as you would expect, has an unparallelled depth of
industry knowledge to call upon.

You can find railway information on a global scale
ñ whether you want to learn about the Pan-Asian rail link or Saudi plans to
build a 3,000 km route through the desert

Further sections on ‘Rail Investment’, ‘Rail
Business Intelligence’, ‘Metro Report’ and ‘Railway Directory’ combine to
provide a comprhensive picture of the UK and overseas railway industries ñ
including city based ‘tube’ networks.

There’s also a recruitment section and a
comprehensive archive facility if you want to delve deeeper into the world of

Rating: 5


l More of an information portal than information source,
the link-rail.com site provides a network of resources including model railway
manufacturers, miniature enthusiasts clubs or information on local heritage

Business information is provided through a number
of sections ranging from passenger groups to track providers, trade unions and
suppliers of rolling stock. Click on one of the sections and it comes up with
endless list of links to organisations including Aslef, the British Transport
Police, Angel Trains and the Cardiff Railway Company.

Information from further afield can be sourced by
entering the initial of the country or region of interest.

Rating: 4


l This is the website for the Railway Industry Association ñ a trade
association for UK-based suppliers of equipment and services to the worldwide
railway industry.

Primarily targetted at manufacturers, contractors and suppliers, the site provides
information on technical, commercial and political information within the
railway world. It also serves as a trade link for railway developers wishing to
make use of the UK’s skills base and products.

A directory of RIA members also provides web links to every major
manufacturer within the UK railway industry and is useful tool for viewing the
range of products and services available.

Rating: 3


l As the online window to the Department of Transport, this site naturally
deals with rail government transport policy and intiatives. Topics covered
range from transport legislation, rail safety guidelines to consultation papers
and select committee reports.

There is also a vast number of other useful links ranging from European
news to information on the Paddington rail crash. Links to the Strategic Rail
Authority, office of the Rail Regulator and HM Railway Inspectorate offer a
complete picture of the political and legal situation behind the UK’s railway

Rating: 3


l This may look like a resource for consumers but enter the ‘Train Operating
Companies’ section and it is possible to surf the website of every train
operator in the UK.

While the information held on these websites varies, they generally provide
information on rolling stock, track improvements and future plans for expansion.

A Rail Associated Business Index provides a similar list of companies
working within the industry.

Best of all is the navigability of the website which makes it extremely
easy to find whatever information you’re after ñ whether business or consumer

Rating: 4


l The Railway Industry Training Council is responsible for all vocational,
educational and training matters within the railway industry.

Aside from describing the state of training within the industry, the
website outlines the current and likely future skills needed.

Other sections allow search for local training initiatives through subject
or location.

Rating: 3


l It may be in administration and the cause of political turnoil in a number
of government departments, but the former rail operator’s website is still

Aside from industry news, the site describes in detail Railtrack’s current

For those who are interested, there are full notes and practical information
about railway administration procedures.

Rating: 3

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