RFG today welcomed the publication of the Williams – Shapps Plan for Rail, which offers the opportunity of a lifetime to accelerate the growth of rail freight, helping decarbonise UK freight transport and meet the needs of freight customers.
Under the plans set out by Government a new organisation, Great British Railways, will be created to plan and run the rail network, incorporating Network Rail and passenger services. Importantly, the new body will have a statutory duty to promote freight, and a national freight co-ordination team will be created to improve the freight customer experience. Government will also set a growth target for rail freight, as has been done in Scotland, and will issue guidance on its priorities for rail freight periodically.
Maggie Simpson OBE, RFG Director General, said: “Businesses across the country are hungry for more rail freight as they decarbonise their supply chains and build back the economy. The creation of Great British Railways is a unique opportunity to meet these ambitions if it ensures that private sector rail freight operators can flourish, and that customers and suppliers are encouraged to invest for growth.”
“We look forward to working with Government as they develop the detailed proposals, including for reform of track access and a new role for the ORR. It will be essential that the new structure and systems truly deliver on their promise for rail freight,” she added.
The Williams – Shapps Plan for Rail can be found here – Great British Railways: Williams-Shapps plan for rail – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
RFG 2018 paper on rail reform can be found here – RFG sets out tests for successful railway reform – Rail Freight Group