FTA’s Rail Freight Council endorses Government strategy

Monday 13 July 2009

The Freight Transport Association’s (FTA) Rail Freight Council has endorsed the Government's vision for the future of rail freight as set out in the Department for Transport's (DfT) publication Strategic Freight Network: Long Term Vision. At its quarterly meeting this month, the Council, which is led by retailers, manufacturers and logistics companies seeking to maximise their use of rail, enthusiastically supported the plan set out in the document, believing it showed the right way to develop the UK’s rail freight capability over the coming years.

The areas addressed by DfT’s paper included thinking on longer and heavier trains, seven day/24-hour capability, gauge enhancement, new freight capacity and electrification.

Chris MacRae, Secretary of FTA’s Rail Freight Council, said:

“For the Council to back the Strategic Freight Network (SFN) plan so whole-heartedly speaks volumes, and should encourage the Government to commit financially to this plan which could bring substantial gains in terms of getting more trucks off the road and their loads onto rail. This would improve both the efficiency of the UK’s supply chain and its environmental performance.”

MacRae concluded:

“FTA and members of our Rail Freight Council have been involved in shaping the direction the SFN has taken and it has been a text book example of industry, infrastructure provider and Government working together to produce a high quality strategy.

“Our challenge will now be to keep rail freight’s profile on the political agenda so that current and future funding for this project is secured in the next Parliament and, with it, the growth of rail freight in the UK.”

Notes for editors

1. The Strategic Rail Freight Network (SFN) is intended to provide a framework for targeting investment to better meet freight requirements. The 2007 Rail White Paper defined the SFN as: "a core network of trunk freight routes, capable of accommodating more and longer freight trains, with a selective ability to handle wagons with higher axle loads and greater loading gauge, integrated with and complementing the UK’s existing mixed traffic network."

2. The FTA’s Rail Freight Council leads for the Association on policy development and advocacy aimed at maximising the efficiency of rail within the UK’s supply chain. Membership includes examples of all those involved in using or providing rail freight: manufacturers; retailers; logistics companies; terminal operators/developers; Freight Operating Companies; and, in an observer capacity, infrastructure provider Network Rail.


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