Freight News

Rail report welcomed with reservations

[ March 9, 2012   //   ]

The industry broadly welcomed the McNulty report on the future of the railways published on 9 March, but warned that the needs of rail freight operators should not be forgotten. The report, which was mainly concerned with passenger services, demanded better value for money from the rail industry.

The Freight Transport Association warned of the need to protect freight operations against any negative effects from alliances between passenger operators and Network Rail.

FTA’s rail freight policy manager, Chris MacRae, said: “It is excellent that the Government recognises the expanding role of rail freight and the environmental and congestion benefits that this brings, and crucially that ministers accept the need to nurture this through a favourable track access charging regime and mode shift revenue support grants. Furthermore, we welcome that the importance of developing the Strategic Rail Freight Network is recognised, along with a continued support for Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges.”
However, he also commented: “The need for regulatory protection for freight is acknowledged; however, the proof will be in the delivery of that. We must prevent freight ever becoming a second class customer if we are to maintain the growth in the logistics industry’s use of rail.”
FTA has recently launched its ‘On Track!’ report showing how retailers are already using rail freight to make cost and carbon savings.

Chief executive of the Freightliner Group, Peter Maybury, said “We are pleased that the Government recognises that rail freight is a key enabler in supporting UK business and can contribute to economic growth whilst at the same time relieving road congestion and reducing carbon.”

He welcomed the plans to continue delivery of the Strategic Freight Network, particularly initiatives to increase capacity on the rail network and went on to say: “As a member of the Rail Delivery Group I recognise the challenge of reducing the costs of the UK Railway system and I know that Network Rail and all the operators, including Freightliner, are keen to play their part and drive through efficiencies. The announcement will help to free up some of the constraints.”


Tags: , , ,