Network Rail sets out railfreight property plan

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Network Rail has launched a consultation aimed at reforming the management and ownership of rail freight property.

The consultation sets out a plan to transfer of the majority of DB Schenker Rail UK’s 250 property interests across the rail network to Network Rail.

It says the move would make a number of key sites more accessible to rail freight operators promoting competition; allow Network Rail to introduce around a dozen strategic staging yard locations across the network; and identify surplus brown field land that has the potential to be promoted for economic regeneration.

Tim Robinson, director of freight for Network Rail, said the move would promote a more efficient and effective use of the railway network by freight traffic in coming years, as well as enabling redundant land to be redeveloped.

And Alain Thauvette, chief executive of DB Schenker Rail UK, said: “This will allow DB Schenker Rail UK to invest in new terminals and rail freight facilities, increasing the volume of freight moved by rail. Our direct competition is with road haulage, and these reforms enable the rail freight industry to compete more effectively to secure modal shift to the railway and reduce carbon emissions in the process.”

The Rail Freight Group said the deal offered strategic benefits for the growth of rail freight.

“However”, said executive director Maggie Simpson, “this is a complex deal, and RFG members and rail freight customers are likely to have legitimate concerns over any impact on their businesses.”

The consultation closes on 28 November.

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