UK Freight Rail Industry Joins Forces to Improve Safety and Reduce Delays

Network Rail is joining with industry partners to tackle freight rail delays and safety risks to launch the Condition of Freight Vehicles on the Network (CFVN) programme.

The new programme, funded by Network Rail’s 20 million GBP (23.79m euros | 25.06m USD) Freight Safety Improvement Portfolio, was unveiled at a special event at one of DB Cargo’s busiest freight yards in Margam, Wales.

CFVN programme launches at DB Cargo's Margam depot
CFVN programme launches at DB Cargo’s Margam depot

In a first for the UK’s freight rail industry, the sector-wide project has developed processes for train preparation, wagon maintenance and the important role human factors play in performing safety-critical tasks to reduce risk and improve performance.

The programme was created after data analysis undertaken by Network Rail in partnership with freight operators and the Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB) found that most delays on the freight network are due to wagon defects.

These include brake, wheel, decoupling and door faults, which if left undetected have the potential to cause delays and safety risks.

The aim is now to bring together all freight rail stakeholders – and in particularly the rail freight operators – to look collectively at what they can do better as an industry.

David Ethell, Independent Project Manager for the National Freight Safety Group, which oversees the CFVN programme, said:

“This is a sector-wide project looking at learning and sharing good practice from across all the freight operating companies in Britain to find where improvements can be made so we can introduce one common industry standard for the safe preparation of freight trains and vehicles.

“The maintenance of freight wagons to prescribed standards and the safe preparation of trains by qualified and competent staff are fundamental requirements of operating a safe freight railway.

“By resourcing the CFVN workstream the freight industry can collaborate and build better understanding of the factors impacting this risk.”

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