Network Rail has recently announced the formation of the Rail Freight Alliance – an industry body that aims to deliver a sustainable and expanding rail freight industry in the UK. Freight Director at Network Rail, Paul McMahon, said, “I’m delighted that The Rail Freight Alliance has been agreed. Greater collaboration between the operators and Network Rail will enable us all to better address the challenges and the opportunities that the sector faces in the next five years and beyond.”.
Along with infrastructure manager Network Rail, five leading operators in the rail freight arena make up the alliance. The five operators are DB Schenker Rail UK, Freightliner Group, GB Railfreight, Direct Rail Services and Colas Rail. The alliance aims to address a number of objectives outlined by the Rail Delivery Group’s Frieght Group. These include:
- Creating a sustainable charging framework for freight trains.
- Develop ‘smarter use’ of the network.
- Deliver cost savings across the industry
A number of shippers hold the view that rail cargo movement in the UK is lacking, despite sustained attempts to make the tracks accessible to a wider market and integrate more intermodal links.
Endorsement from the Rail Delivery Group lends extra weight to the alliance’s cause. Peter Maybury, freightliner chairman and head of the RDG group said, “The creation of The Rail Freight Alliance is an important step-forward for the rail freight sector. The Alliance will give the rail freight sector a stronger voice in the rail industry and give an opportunity to resolve some significant issues that remain for the sector.”.