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Railhub Archive
1999-12-10 DET-001
Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions


European rail freight market opens up

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Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

European rail freight market opens up

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10 December 1999
source Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions
type Press release

European Transport Ministers last night hammered out a deal to help shift international freight off roads and onto rail – something which the UK delegation strongly advocated.

Meeting in Brussels, the EU Transport Council finalised the deal agreed in principle in October.

Speaking in Brussels, the Minister for Transport Lord Macdonald said:

"The UK and other member states have worked hard to get where we are today. This is a significant package that will give European rail freight a much-needed boost. It will widen the freedom to provide services in the rail sector, an objective which we strongly support.

"This deal provides the right framework for international freight train operators to co-operate with one another or operate individually across borders. Operators will be subject to a community licence to endure that standards, especially safety, are maintained. As in Britain, member states will each have to establish at national level an independent regulatory body to oversee track charges and deal with complaints.

"Freight customers will have more choice. There should be less pressure on roads. This package will help reverse the decline in rail's share of the market."

In addition, the Council agreed to work urgently to overcome congestion bottlenecks, with the possibility of priority routes for freight trains as well as tackling other technical barriers.

Tom Winsor, the British Rail Regulator, also welcomed the deal.

Notes for Editors

The agreed regulatory framework and the rules for track access charges mirror British practice in all fundamental respects. Northern Ireland is free to choose whether to introduce these changes now or to wait until another freight rain company decides to operate there.

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Railhub Archive ::: 1999-12-10 DET-001


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