While broadly welcoming the Department for Transport (DfT) Command Paper on Railways, published today, the Freight Transport Association has warned of the need to protect freight operations against any negative effects from alliances between passenger operators and Network Rail.
Commenting on the Paper, Chris MacRae, FTA’s Rail Freight Policy Manager, said: "It is excellent that the Government recognises the expanding role of rail freight and the environmental and congestion benefits that this brings, and crucially that ministers accept the need to nurture this through a favourable track access charging regime and mode shift revenue support grants. Furthermore, we welcome that the importance of developing the Strategic Rail Freight Network is recognised, along with a continued support for Strategic Rail Freight Interchanges."
On the subject of alliances between passenger operators and Network Rail, MacRae commented: "The need for regulatory protection for freight is acknowledged; however, the proof will be in the delivery of that."
MacRae concluded: "FTA has recently launched its ‘On Track!’ report showing how retailers are using rail freight today to make cost and carbon savings. Whilst reducing the costs of the railways is good for all of us, we must prevent freight ever becoming a second class customer if we are to maintain the growth in the logistics industry’s use of rail."