UK: Five leading rail freight operators announced on October 31 that they had formed a new alliance with infrastructure manager Network Rail, ‘with a view to delivering a sustainable and flourishing rail freight sector’. The five are DB Schenker Rail UK, Freightliner Group, GB Railfreight, Direct Rail Services and Colas Rail.

Reflecting recent moves towards the establishment of alliances between Network Rail’s devolved route management teams and their primary passenger train operators, the Rail Freight Alliance is intended to address a series of strategic objectives agreed by the Rail Delivery Group’s Freight Group. These include:

  • delivering whole-industry cost savings;
  • developing 'smarter use' of the network;
  • a sustainable charging framework for freight trains.

Freightliner Chairman Peter Maybury, who heads the RDG Freight Group, believed that creation of the alliance was ‘an important step-forward’, which would ‘give the rail freight sector a stronger voice in the rail industry and give an opportunity to resolve some significant issues that remain’.

Network Rail Freight Director Paul McMahon suggested that ‘greater collaboration between the operators and Network Rail will enable us all to better address the challenges and the opportunities that the sector faces in the next five years and beyond.’