Workforce Analytics: Rail Partners

NSAR investigated the current demographics of Rail Partner organisations and whether the Traction and Rolling Stock sector’s skills and training were fit for purpose for new technologies.



Rail Partners is a trade body for rail freight and passenger train companies, providing advocacy, policy solutions and operator services to its members.


Rail Partners wanted to understand training needs in the Traction and Rolling Stock sector, taking into account current and anticipated demographic, technological and economic changes. The research was intended to build on, and update, work undertaken by NSAR in 2014.

Our Process

Estimate data on new and retractioned rolling stock was used to determine a baseline and compare it to three possible scenarios of technological changes.

NSAR used its Skills Intelligence Model (SIM) to collect quantitative data about the sector’s current workforce and consulted with nearly 30 industry leaders. Combining this quantitative and qualitative evidence, we determined the current workforce demographics and the workforce needs of the Traction and Rolling Stock sector today and over the next 30 years.


The research identified a number of issues that need to be addressed. The current workforce is ageing, with 80% set to retire by 2050. The number of under-25s joining the sector has been steadily decreasing. Although the rollout of new hydrogen technologies will start in only a few regions due to stock, there is a lack of skills generally to accommodate the new fleet.

NSAR made recommendations for the sector to ensure it has the workforce and training it needs to prepare for future skills needs.

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