The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR)'s draft decision on train paths access for the shared surface sections of the London Crossrail route.
FTA is pleased that the ORR has restricted the number of off-peak Crossrail passenger services as this will allow for future freight growth on the Great Western and Great Eastern main lines. Along with other freight interests, FTA has been concerned that the level of passenger services which Crossrail's promoters wanted would restrict future freight growth.
FTA's Rail Freight Policy Manager, Chris MacRae said, 'We obviously welcome this decision as it goes some way to addressing our concerns. ORR and the Department for Transport have accepted industry's freight forecasts and now we need to ensure that they are factored into the allocation of train paths on the GWML and GEML to ensure that not only current freight but forecast freight growth can run.
'We also need to ensure that infrastructure upgrades necessary to mitigate the effects of Crossrail on freight traffic are built. We have petitioned Parliament to this effect. We also hope that the ORR's draft decision on the Track Access Contract will allow the powers in the Crossrail Bill that would restrict the ORR's ability to adjudicate on access for all operators using the surface sections of railway affected by Crossrail to be removed.
'Crossrail services must not be allowed to hinder freight and freight growth. This is not a local London issue, but an issue affecting Britain's supply chain, particularly as the amount of container freight from the south-eastern ports destined for the rest of Britain will only increase.'