GB Railfreight has called on the government to include rail freight in its plans for a rail review.
It pointed out that the turmoil created by the recent timetabling issues experienced by passenger services has also negatively impacted freight services.
“Open access freight companies have not been issued with a December timetable, meaning Network Rail will be improvising essentially. Additionally, there wasn’t appropriate consultation with rail freight operators before the cancellation of timetables, which has placed a burden on the sector,” it said.
Managing director John Smith said: “Given the role we play, shifting goods worth billions of pounds per year and helping the UK become more productive and sustainable, rail freight expects to play a central role in the discussions around the railways’ future. If we do not, the government and Network Rail risk undermining all the fantastic work we have done since the mid-90s to create a thriving business.
“More than that, we see this as a vital opportunity to ensure the regulatory landscape is most beneficial to rail freight, putting it on a secure footing to grow new routes, open up new markets, and develop new freight terminals. GB Railfreight will be at the forefront of these conversations, leading the way for the industry, and making sure rail is given its due consideration as a freight transport option now and well into the future.”
The Rail Freight Group has also called for freight to be included in the review. Executive director Maggie Simpson said: “Across the country, our members are hungry for more rail freight, but it can be hard to deliver their expectations when there is an ever-greater focus on integrating track and passenger services. We need this review to put freight customers at the very heart of its considerations and find the right mechanisms to deliver the growth that our economy demands.”