Rail Freight Group (RFG) was pleased to respond to the consultation on the Cross Country Passenger Rail Franchise. We recognise that DfT has made good progress in recent consultations to ensure that the needs of rail freight are more fully included in the planning of new franchise specifications. This is welcome, and our members are keen to support this process where appropriate with visits and events etc. We have also been pleased to see increased interest in freight from franchise bidders.
The Cross Country franchise is of particular interest to freight as it has a nationwide operation similar to those of the freight operators. It is also managed by the same Network Rail route, (FNPO) and so any decisions around franchise structure (such as alliancing) have the potential for wider impacts on freight. Equally in areas such as an effective system operator and nationwide timetable planning there are common interests with freight.
There is significant overlap between the cross country network and the strategic freight network, and there are only a few areas where the franchise does not share the route with some freight services.
Click the link below to read the response in full.