Rail Forum Midlands

Acres and the RFM...

We are proud members of the Rail Forum Midlands (RFM) and the work it does in the Rail Industry. Here’s an overview of the great work that the RFM does and interview with its CEO, Elaine Clark.

london train station

You too can benefit from working with the Rail Forum Midlands.

Key Drivers

Key Drivers

RFM has close links with Midlands Connect, local councils, Local Enterprise Partnerships, Department for International Trade and other industry groups and stakeholders.

RFM has close links with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Department for Transport and the Department for International Trade together with Midlands Connect and Local Enterprise Partnerships.

Their support helps members locate and access new markets and promote international expansion. It also helps to attract new organisations to the Midlands region to continue growing the reputation of the region’s rail industry.  RFM actively support ReshoringUK which promotes the UK supply chain capability to major clients across numerous key sectors.

The photo includes RFM staff along with colleagues from Porterbrook, EliteKL and Freestone Wright.

  • We actively support ReshoringUK icon

    We actively support ReshoringUK

  • Co-operation agreements icon

    Co-operation agreements

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    Close links

Rail Forum Midlands, Rail Engineers, Acres Engineering, UK


Based at the heart of one of the largest clusters of rail companies in the world.

RFM has a number of strategic priorities and activities which are aligned with the Rail Supply Group and demonstrate the rail industry’s commitment to delivering the Rail Sector Deal.

  • providing unrivalled networking opportunities
  • facilitating topical workshops and seminars
  • offering a broad range of events across each calendar year – from business focused breakfast sessions to social and charity network events
  • providing a collective voice for members and promoting the industry to a global market
  • providing specific opportunities for members to work collaboratively to secure new business opportunities
  • supporting inward and outward trade missions
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    Trade Missions

  • Workshops icon


  • Networking icon


Expert Insight

Q&A with Elaine Clark, CEO of Rail Forum Midlands.

Elaine Clark from Midlands Rail Forum
Elaine Clark from Midlands Rail Forum


Tell us about yourself- Who is Elaine? When you aren’t working, what do you like to do to relax?
Outside of work I love to travel and am lucky to have been able to visit a number of different countries and learn about their cultures. I also love to read and am a big football fan supporting both ‘my’ team and my husband’s!
What has been your biggest achievement that you are proud of?
From a work perspective leading a MBO and then growing the business significantly year on year to become the major national player in it’s market. I am also a Business Mentor for the Princes Trust and it’s always rewarding to support young people to start their businesses and watch them flourish.
When was your first introduction to the rail industry and why did you choose to work in the rail industry? What drew you towards it?
Like many people I came into rail by accident. I had been working on the business plan for a National Skills Academy for Power and as that work concluded rail was just starting on a similar journey. I got the opportunity to join the team and I thought it would be interesting to learn about a new sector and one so important to my home city of Derby.
Why is the quality of the equipment used in the rail industry so important?
Every day our industry is trusted to carry people and freight safely to their destinations; the impact of getting this wrong can be devasting. So the quality of everything we do is vital to ensuring our railways are safe for our customers. We have a responsibility to spend our money wisely but buying the cheapest can be a false economy; we need to get the right quality of equipment for the job.
What are you most passionate about within rail?
I’ve grown to love the industry although it also has it’s frustrations. I’m passionate about supporting our SMEs who do a fantastic job sometimes in difficult circumstances. Because of my background I’m also passionate about attracting new people into the industry we have some fantastic careers on offer.
Have there been any new developments that you are excited about?
There are some chinks of light on some of the big issues the rail supply chain faces – from visibility of work to localising supply chains. I hope that both recent changes and upcoming structural reform of the industry will continue to drive these in the right direction.
What do you see as the immediate priorities for the industry are there any challenges that the rail industry faces??
Right now the big challenge is getting people back onto the railway using trains. If that doesn’t happen making the business case for continued investment may become more difficult. We also need to speed up projects and decision making and embrace innovation better and quicker. In the medium term decarbonisation will, as for many industries, be critical.
How has the rail industry been affected by Covid?
We have continued to operate throughout but as mentioned above passenger numbers have dropped significantly, hence fare revenue has dropped to a fraction of normal. This isn’t sustainable in the longterm. Freight has continued to operate throughout the pandemic too and there is much scope for growth if we can release the capacity on the network.
What do you think the future looks like for the UK rail industry and do you have any predictions of new equipment changes/ requirements in the years to come?
Good but a bit uncertain! Those two comments might appear contradictory so let me explain. We continue to see record levels of investment, both on the existing network and in new projects such as HS2, and as the UK seeks to remove more cars and lorries from our roads rail has a vitally important role to play. But, over the next couple of years there will be major reform on the passenger railway as the current franchise model ends. No-one knows yet just what shape future operations will take so for suppliers in this part of the industry it’s also an uncertain time.


Established in 1993, the Rail Forum is a national industry body with strong regional connections.


  • Established in 1993 icon

    Established in 1993

  • National industry body icon

    National industry body

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    Not for profit organisation

Rail Forum History

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