Commenting on the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail White Paper, published today, John Smith, Managing Director at GB Railfreight, said:

“We welcome the publication of the Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail and appreciate the warm words used to describe rail freight – correctly identified as having played a crucial role in keeping food and medical supplies moving during the pandemic as well as being key to building back better.

“As the Williams Review found, the rail sector lacks clear strategic direction. While we would have preferred a freight specific guiding mind, we welcome the government’s intent that the new Great British Railway body will have a statutory duty to promote rail freight. Within this context it is vital that our access to the network is given long term security as soon as possible. 

“However we remain of the belief that our sector needs a Freight Evangelist to champion it within GBR and across Whitehall. The benefits of rail freight are there for all to see, and we hope they will be recognised by GBR once it has been set up. Hopefully such an individual will be placed in post within the GBR organisation.

“We look forward to playing our part in shaping in the future of the railways including working with GBR and the Department for Transport on the Whole Industry 30-year Strategic Plan that will be set out in the coming months as announced in the White Paper.”

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