Published by Railfuture

Railwatch is the quarterly magazine of Railfuture, which is free to members.

Non-members can subscribe to Railwatch, receiving it by post.


Railwatch 073 - October 1997

Run the freight cowboys out

By Eric Layfield

There is such widespread law breaking by road hauliers that rail operators would be significantly helped in attracting business if the regulations were properly enforced.

Lorry operators' costs would increase by about 30% if they kept to the rules - and rail would be able to compete fairly on a level playing field.

That was the message to the police and government from Julia Clarke, a director of the Rail Freight Group and a non-executive director of English, Welsh & Scottish Railway.

The result would benefit everyone. Freight would increasingly be transported in a safer and more environmentally acceptable way, lorry drivers would not be under pressure from firms to break the law, other road users would not be at risk and rail companies would be rewarded for their role in operating a strictly regulated system where accidents are investigated and proper remedial action is taken.

By contrast, there are no proper investigations or effective change despite the high number of road crashes involving lorries every year.

Ms Clarke, who was speaking at the Rail Freight Group's conference in June, also rejected the road lobby's demands for 44 tonne lorries.

But she warned Railtrack that its network management statement was woefully inadequate for the development of freight.

When the Government sets up a national rail authority, it could take over the work of the Franchise Director and some functions from Railtrack. But she warned against another layer of bureaucracy. The Government's transport team was apparently too preoccupied to send a member to the conference.

Note: contact details (postal and email addresses, along with telephone numbers) in old editions of Railwatch out of date. Click CONTACT US for latest contact details.

[Issue 73 Index]

[Railwatch Home] [Prev Issue (72)] [Railwatch Issues] [RIS Progress Reports] [SRUBLUK Progress Reports] [Next Issue (74)] [Railfuture Home]

Rail users are encouraged to join Railfuture to help us campaign for a bigger and better railway - membership for individuals is just £20 per year

Railfuture is an independent, voluntary group representing rail users in Britain with 20,000 affiliated and individual members. It is not funded by train companies, political parties or trade unions, and all members have an equal say.

Railfuture campaigns for cheap and convenient rail services for everyone; better links for buses, bikes and pedestrians; policies to get more heavy lorries on to rail; new lines, stations and freight terminals. In short, a better rail service and a bigger rail system for both passengers and freight.

Railfuture is pro-rail but not anti-road or anti-air. However, we campaign for a switch from road and air to rail. We do not interfere in the running of the railway - we campaign for the quality and range of services provided, not how they are delivered. We are the only champion of all rail users.

Railfuture is the campaigning name of Railfuture Ltd.

A not-for-profit Company Limited by Guarantee.

Registered in England and Wales No. 05011634.

Registered Office: Edinburgh House, 1-5 Bellevue Road, Clevedon, North Somerset BS21 7NP (for legal correspondence only).

All other correspondence to 14 Ghent Field Circle, Thurston, Suffolk IP31 3UP

© Copyright Railfuture Ltd 2024.

Railfuture is happy for extracts to be used by journalists, researchers and students. We would, however, appreciate a mention of Railfuture in any article, website or programme. Except with Railfuture's express written permission, no one should distribute or commercially exploit the content.

Privacy Statement

Click Privacy to read Railfuture's GDPR statement on how we treat your data.


This site does not use its own cookies, although Google Analytics does. Hosted by TSO Host (cPanel) and maintained for Railfuture by Billing Specialists Ltd.