GB Railfreight welcomes the government’s announcement of a new rail review yesterday (Thursday 20th September), aimed at considering all parts of the UK’s rail network. This must include, however, the rail freight sector, which plays a pivotal role in the delivery of goods, commodities and building materials around the country.
The turmoil created by the recent timetabling issues experienced by passenger services has also negatively impacted freight services. Open access freight companies have not been issued with a December timetable, meaning Network Rail will be improvising essentially. Additionally, there wasn’t appropriate consultation with rail freight operators before the cancellation of timetables, which has placed a burden on the sector.
GB Railfreight is proud of the role that it plays in increasing the productivity of UK plc, from reducing congestion and lowering air pollution by removing lorries from the roads to supplying companies up and down the country with the materials needed to build houses, lay roads and dig tunnels. Any review into the railways must ensure that this part of the sector is allowed to continue to flourish as it has done since privitisation.
Commenting on the review, John Smith, GB Railfreight’s managing director, said:
“Given the role we play, shifting goods worth billions of pounds per year and helping the UK become more productive and sustainable, rail freight expects to play a central role in the discussions around the railways’ future. If we do not, the government and Network Rail risk undermining all the fantastic work we have done since the mid-90s to create a thriving business.
“More than that, we see this as a vital opportunity to ensure the regulatory landscape is most beneficial to rail freight, putting it on a secure footing to grow new routes, open up new markets, and develop new freight terminals. GB Railfreight will be at the forefront of these conversations, leading the way for the industry, and making sure rail is given its due consideration as a freight transportation option now and well into the future.”