Network Rail has launched a consultation over plans to transfer the majority of DB Schenker Rail UK’s 250 property interests over to the infrastructure owner.
The move is designed to improve open access as highlighted by the McNulty report.
Network Rail hopes that by acquiring the properties it would promote freight network capacity on the railway and enable improved timekeeping for freight trains, improve competition between rail freight operators and allow it to introduce around a dozen strategic staging yard locations across the network.
Tim Robinson, director of freight for Network Rail, said: “These proposals represent the biggest change in rail freight for decades. If implemented, they will meet objectives of the McNulty report and the Office of Rail Regulation’s market study into rail freight by enhancing open access, and promoting a more efficient and effective use of the railway network by freight traffic in coming years, as well as enabling redundant land to be redeveloped.”
Alain Thauvette, chief executive of DB Schenker Rail UK, said: “By transferring the majority of our property interests to Network Rail, we will modernise the rail freight industry. This is a progressive proposal and is good news for all users of freight trains and the entire rail freight industry. This will allow DB Schenker Rail UK to invest in new terminals and rail freight facilities, increasing the volume of freight moved by rail.
“Our direct competition is with road haulage, and these reforms enable the rail freight industry to compete more effectively to secure modal shift to the railway and reduce carbon emissions in the process.”
The consultation, accessible from the Network Rail website opened on 29 October 2012 and will close on 28 November 2012.