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Railhub Archive
1997-06-04 ORR-001
Office of the Rail Regulator


Rail Regulator sets out his agenda for rail freight growth

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Office of the Rail Regulator

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Office of the Rail Regulator

Rail Regulator sets out his agenda for rail freight growth

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1997-06-04 Speech to the Rail Freight Conference '97 (Office of the Rail Regulator)

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4 June 1997
source Office of the Rail Regulator
type Press release

note ORR/97/10

The Rail Regulator, John Swift QC, today set out his agenda for the development of rail freight: what he is seeking to achieve, his expectations of the main industry players, and what he himself will contribute.

Speaking to an audience from the rail freight industry, Martin Brennan, the Regulator's Freight Director, commented that the changes of the last three years had created "the biggest opportunity for many years to arrest and reverse the decline of rail freight. I believe that to meet the needs of customers and to grow the business of freight on rail, the industry needs to work together. The Regulator's principal aims for rail freight are to promote the use of the network for freight to the greatest extent economically practicable, and to protect the interests of users."

Mr Brennan said, "Railtrack has a key role at the centre of the railway industry. The Regulator expects Railtrack to demonstrate, in its actions as well as in its words, a firm commitment to deliver the development of freight on the network".

He went on, "the Railtrack 10 point plan for the development of freight is a step in the right direction. Turning the words into deeds - and delivering - is the test, and the Regulator has asked Railtrack to report progress to him by the end of July."

Turning to the leading freight operator, Mr Brennan called on English Welsh & Scottish Railways (EWS) to "recognise the responsibilities of market leadership. Development of rail freight is largely in your hands. Realise it to the full." The Regulator also expected EWS to deal fairly with competitors and suppliers, and with customers who may not have ready alternatives to rail.

Mr Brennan went on to say that, "The Rail Regulator very much welcomes Neil Kinnock's White Paper on the liberalisation of railways in Europe, and the Freight Freeways initiative aimed at getting something going more quickly. Let us not leave this to our European partners, but work together on projects which link into the UK."

Moving to the Regulator's own contribution, Mr Brennan said:

"The industry should expect of its Regulator:

clarity and predictability of policy;
vigilance in monitoring industry behaviour;
a friendly proactive approach to those who seek his help; and
efficiency in delivery."
He concluded that, "the Regulator is no defender of the status quo. If the system is not working he will support change. To those who say we need less regulation, not more, my challenge is to prove it. Prove it in your actions as infrastructure provider, or service provider, in the way you delight your customers, in the absence of any well founded criticism. The Regulator will regulate according to how the industry performs."

Notes for Editors

1. Martin Brennan was speaking at the "Rail Freight Conference '97", held at the London Marriott Hotel. The conference was promoted by the Rail Freight Group and organised by the Waterfront Conference Company.

2. The text of Mr Brennan's speech is available on this internet site and from ORR Press Office, Office of the Rail Regulator, 1 Waterhouse Square, 138-142 Holborn, London EC1N 2ST. For copies please call 0171 282 2059.

Railhub Archive ::: 1997-06-04 ORR-001


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