Rail freight chiefs will be able to offer their opinions during future passenger franchise consultations, in order to improve relations between freight and passenger operators.
Speaking at the annual Rail Freight Group conference last month, Department for Transport Head of Rail Strategy Projects Kate Jennings said there has been an “improvement of the recognition of freight in the franchising system” since the latest Government has come into power.
“My team is hoping to make sure that all the consultations that happen on each of the franchises involve freight stakeholders, and that you have an opportunity to make sure your voice is heard - in the live competitions that are happening at the moment and High Speed 2. We need to make sure your voice is heard,” she told delegates.
Jennings also reiterated the importance of the forthcoming National Infrastructure Commission-led Future of Freight report, the first draft of which is expected to be published this autumn, followed by the final report due by spring 2019. And she urged the rail freight industry to contribute.
“I know when Lord Adonis announced this study [RAIL 841] he implied road freight was always going to be the most important thing, and that probably ruffled some feathers,” she said.
“But I would say we are working with the NIC. What ministers want is a strategic view of how best we use our transport system. Generally, it is pretty full, and we can’t afford to waste it. This is a real opportunity to influence Government spending into the future.”
- For the FULL story, read RAIL 852, published on May 9, and available digitally on Android and iPad from May 5.