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Provision of a regulator for rail freight sector
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28 September 2006


To ask the Minister for Transport if he will consider either the provision of a regulator for the rail freight sector or the seeking of tenders for an operator from the private sector to operate the service for a number of years.
- Paul Connaughton. (Nominated by: Olivia Mitchell).
For ORAL answer on Thursday, 28th September, 2006.
Ref No:   29700/06    Lottery:   62

Answered by the Minister for Transport
(Martin Cullen)

The European Communities (Access to Railway Infrastructure) (Amendment) Regulations, 2005 (S.I. 780 of 2005), transposes Directive 2004/51/EC on the development of the Community's Railways.   In line with developments across the EU, these Regulations allow for the opening of the freight market to competition from 1 January 2006, in the case of international freight, and from 1 January 2007 for domestic freight operations.   The rail freight industry across the EU is aware of these developments.
I have said on a number of occasions that I welcome the development of a liberalised rail freight market and I am open to considering proposals from interested parties on any innovative or new approaches to rail freight which offer value for money, where a real and tangible return on Exchequer investment can be demonstrated.  However, no formal applications have been received in my Department for a railway undertaking licence or for track access.
I have no proposals for the provision of a regulator for the rail sector.