It will take collaboration to unlock a future of fundamental mode shift towards rail, Ken Russell, commercial and business development director, John G Russell (Transport), has told guests at the official opening of the Telford International Railfreight Park.
“Only then will we use capacity far better,” he said. “We see far too many partially filled trains running. We need a trading platform that shares the resources available. We need to align the service with customer needs, it needs to be reliable and dependable. Customers and suppliers need a consistent offering at the right price or it will not be sustainable. It needs to satisfy all.”
John G Russell (Transport) is the operator of the new terminal at Telford. The project included in the reinstatement of almost two miles of railway line from Wellington to Donnington on the northern side of Telford and the construction of freight handling and storage facilities at Donnington.
Russell argues that rail needs to be a credible product in its own right – not just because it is presumed to be environmentally friendly. “Does the shipper know the NOx and SOx of rail versus road? We need to get more detailed information to the customer on this issue. When decisions are made to use rail, they should be made for the right reasons.”
And he asked: is rail seen as a tool to minimise inventory? “In the UK, we are not at this stage yet. There is no reason why this cannot be achieved with a timetabled, predictable service. Freight has the same characteristics as passengers. It needs consistency and predictability and suitable access”