Think freight, FTA tells rail review

[ November 27, 2015   //   ]

The Freight Transport Association (FTA) warned on 26 November that any review of the railway industry in Britain and infrastructure projects must take freight needs into account. It was responding to the publication of the Bowe Review into the planning of Network Rail’s Enhancements Programme, which has frequently ended up massively late and over budget.

At the same time, the Hendy Review of current projects has deferred a number of freight schemes.

FTA said it was vital that Network Rail, the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) as regulator, and the Department for Transport (DfT), learn lessons.
FTA’s rail freight policy manager, Chris MacRae, said: “The Strategic Freight Network Fund have helped to remove some of the constraints on rail freight including important gauge clearance projects for containers to and from ports.

Chris MacRae stated also that the needs of freight users are fundamentally different to those of passenger services and must not be overlooked. It operates across Network Rail geographical route boundaries, for example Southampton to Crewe or Southampton to Coatbridge and any review of the shape and financing of the infrastructure provider “must ensure that planning and delivering ‘cross- boundary’ services is made easier, not harder”.

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