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EXCLUSIVE: Smith: rail freight can boost economy with political backing

More political support is needed if the rail freight sector is to achieve its potential in boosting productivity and increasing the sustainability of the UK economy.

That’s the view of GB Railfreight Managing Director John Smith. Speaking at a reception held by the operator in London on October 9, Smith said it was time for the freight sector to set the agenda.

“Unless politicians are on-board and sowing the seeds of our importance to the UK, then we will fail,” he told attendees.

He warned that the rail industry is stagnating at a time when it should be the backbone of the economy, with huge opportunities from new markets such as multimodal services from ports to distribution centres, as well as innovations such as fast parcel trains which could bring deliveries into London and other big cities overnight for distribution.

Smith said that the sector needed support, not just from the Department for Transport but across Government, if the rail freight sector is to play its part in helping the UK deliver economic growth in all parts of the UK.

“Investors have put money in and taken risks, and we will continue to do so if we see support,” he said.

  • For the FULL story, read RAIL 864, published on October 24, and available digitally on Android, iPad and Kindle now. 

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