Thursday, March 17, 2016

Report Puts Network Rail Under the Spotlight and Freight in the Van

Industry Praise for Conclusions of HS1 Boss
Shipping News Feature
UK – The just released Shaw Report (not to be confused with Sir Walter Shaw’s comments on the Palestinian riots of 1929) has gone down well with those interested in the business of running an efficient railway. Both the Rail Freight Group (RFG) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) have welcomed Nicola Shaw’s input as to the future of Network Rail.

The Report can be downloaded in full here or a summary of the main conclusions can be seen here. The recommendations which the Report makes are as follows.

  • R1: Place the needs of passengers and freight shippers at the heart of rail infrastructure management
  • R2: Focus on the customer through deeper route devolution, supported by independent regulation
  • R3: Create a route for the North
  • R4: Clarify the government’s role in the railway and Network Rail
  • R5: Plan the railway based on customer, passenger and freight needs
  • R6: Explore new ways of paying for the growth in passengers and freight on the railway
  • R7: Develop industry wide plans to develop skills and improve diversity

The key point is of course is that the report, prepared by Nicola Shaw CBE and CEO of HS1, concludes that the needs of freight shippers and passengers should be placed at the heart of rail infrastructure management. This will be supported by the establishment of a ‘freight route’ on an equal standing to Network Rail’s other regional routes. Shaw also recommends that a strong system operator function be maintained to co-ordinate timetabling across the network. Maggie Simpson, RFG Executive Director commented:

“We are pleased that Nicola Shaw has listened to the voice of the freight industry and made balanced recommendations will which support growth in our sector. We look forward to working with Network Rail and Government to develop the details of these proposals over the coming months.”

Her view was supported by Rhian Kelly, the CBI Business Environment Director, who said:

“With an ambitious £38 billion rail investment programme to deliver, it is essential that Network Rail is fit for purpose. We welcome Nicola Shaw’s recommendations, which provide a fresh perspective on what more needs to done to shake Network Rail up. What rail users and tax payers alike will want to see is an upgraded rail network, delivered on time and to budget. The overriding imperative is that we see greater transparency and accountability in the performance of Network Rail to achieve that. It is essential that the Government keeps up the momentum from this process by setting out next steps in a speedy response.”