Happy New Year Rail Freight

Happy New Year Rail Freight!

Have you made any new year’s resolutions? For me, aside from the usual ‘stop swearing’ (already failed) and dieting (pending!), this is the year I am going to tackle the backlog of reading and jigsaws that I really want to do but never make time for.

Can the railways make resolutions? I don’t know but if it can, perhaps they would look something like this!

1. Resolve the current industrial action. This is deeply concerning for existing and new freight customers and has already gone on for far too long. A resolution is urgently needed to stop the disruption to freight services.

2. Find a way forward on rail reform. The current hiatus is proving both to be a distraction and a blocker and is blighting too many areas of rail policy. This doesn’t mean necessarily following the previous plans, but certainty on what the plan is does need to emerge, and soon.

3. Restore performance. It is hard to separate the current poor performance from the impact of industrial action, but whatever the causes it is not good enough for customers. A back-to-basics approach is needed to get the network working as it should.

4. Push to modernise. This is one for everyone, including freight, where we know that older systems and processes are holding us back. The recent work on coupler strength, and on Target 26 are great examples of how small changes can deliver for freight, and we need to keep challenging and changing to bring ourselves up to date, and build on the potential of digitalisation in our businesses.

5. Prove ourselves on sustainability. We all know rail freight is the greener option but we can do so much more, and prove our credentials right across the sphere of sustainability. Highlighting our actions on social value, biodiversity, air quality and other areas will help build the case for using rail, and it’s good for business too.

We’ll be making the case for our new year resolutions with Government, industry colleagues and with members, and, unlike the gym membership, we’ll not be giving up by February either! Happy New Year to you all.