GB Railfreight MD Smith: time for ‘freight evangelist’

GB Railfreight is urging the new state-owned Great British Railways to appoint what it has described as a dedicated ‘freight evangelist’, to ensure freight traffic is not overlooked in the major changes prompted by The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail.

The plan hands GBR a statutory duty to promote rail freight but falls short of recommending the appointment of a senior figure dedicated to the freight sector, as previously suggested.

“We welcome the publication of The Williams-Shapps Plan for Rail and appreciate the warm words used to describe rail freight - correctly identified as having played a crucial role in keeping food and medical supplies moving during the pandemic as well as being key to building back better,” said GBRf Managing Director John Smith.

“However, we remain of the belief that our sector needs a freight evangelist to champion it within GBR and across Whitehall. 

“The benefits of rail freight are there for all to see. Hopefully such an individual will be placed in post within the GBR organisation.”

GBRf had suggested a five-point plan to help rail freight prosper:

  • Champion the economic value of freight, putting it on an equal footing with passenger use.
  • Promote the decarbonisation benefits of a modal shift from
  • road to rail.
  • Create a reliable and fair route access regime.
  • Deliver freight-specific infrastructure investment to unlock capacity.
  • Offer an integrated approach, at local and national level, to ensure smooth running.

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