The Freight Transport Association (FTA) says that it is a positive development that rail freight will be managed alongside other GB-wide rail operations in the devolved route structure of Network Rail.
The announcement on 1 June that “freight and national operations” will come under one Network Rail Managing Director is welcome in the wake of the Shaw Review Report.
Chris MacRae, FTA Head of Rail Freight Policy, said: “The Shaw Report on the structure of Network Rail recognised the concerns of the freight sector that Britain-wide freight operations should not be compromised by the route devolution process and alignment with dominant passenger franchises. The announcement of a single MD dealing with freight operations and other GB-wide operators is therefore a welcome one and develops the ‘system-operator’ role in the Shaw Report. Most freight flows in Britain operate across more than one Network Rail boundary.
“The associated announcement of enhanced governance arrangements and business development relations for freight is also a positive move.”
He concluded: “Rail freight faces a number of challenges in developing into new markets that are not naturally aligned to rail after the ending of coal traffic. It is therefore vital that a flexible, customer-oriented and responsive structure exists to facilitate the gaining of new traffics to rail.”