Freight customers


Freight customers are those with a direct interest in rail freight, including purchasers of services and their representative bodies, but not the operators of the trains.

ORR's ambitions for the rail freight sector are grounded in our strategic objectives:

  • 'support a better service for customers' – use our powers to hold the industry to account for performance and standards of service across the railway network
  • 'secure value for money from the railway, for users and funders' – strengthen incentives for the increased use of railway capacity, and more cost-effective investment in the network
  • 'promote an increasingly dynamic and commercially sustainable sector' – support sustainable economic growth by promoting innovation and efficient long-term investment across the rail industry through the appropriate development of effective markets and regulatory intervention.

Freight customer track access contracts

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Freight customer access contracts are also known as third party freight access contracts.

  • These are ORR model track access contracts between Network Rail and freight customers. They enable freight customers to hold their own track access rights, and provide flexibility for freight customers who wish to choose and easily change a freight operating company to haul their traffic.
  • On 6 November 2014 ORR presented at an event hosted by Network Rail and the Rail Freight Group. This seminar was an open forum to discuss how freight customers can hold track access rights and the benefits of such an approach.
  • Contracts and forms are available. We also have a number of track access guidance documents.

Freight customer events

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We held a freight customer event on 7 October 2021

We held a freight customer event on 13 November 2019.

We held a freight customer event on 21 November 2018.

We held a freight customer event on 2 October 2017.

We held a freight customer event on 28 November 2016.

We held our second freight customer event on 20 November 2015.

We held our first freight customer event in October 2014.

Freight customer panel themes and issues

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The freight customer panel helps to ensure that our policies and regulatory decisions take into account the commercial environment that freight customers work within. The freight customer panel is part of our wider commitment to engage directly with freight customers.

Freight panel members

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Chris Swan

Chris Swan is Head of Rail at Tarmac.

Alex Veitch

Alex Veitch is Head of Global Policy at the Freight Transport Association.

David Turner

David Turner is the Director of Rail at WH Malcolm Limited, formerly of P&O Nedlloyd and Roadways Container Logistics. He has twelve years' experience in terminal operations including regulatory access and intermodal logistics.

Maggie Simpson

Maggie Simpson is Executive Director at the Rail Freight Group, the representative body for rail freight in the UK. As a member led trade association, Rail Freight Group's aim is to increase the volume of goods moved by rail, by ensuring that the policy environment for railways supports freight, and by helping member companies to increase their rail freight businesses.

Martin Woor

Martin Woor joined the Port of Felixstowe in 1989 as a graduate trainee and has worked in numerous areas of the port business to include container, roro, warehousing and general cargo activities. His current role within Hutchison Ports (UK) which encompasses the ports of Felixstowe, London Thamesport and Harwich International, is to promote and develop HPUK rail activity. In particular, Martin manages external relationships within the intermodal rail industry and manages the commercial relationship with the Freight Operating Companies.

Paul Garnham

Paul Garnham is the General Manager Intermodal at Mediterranean Shipping Company UK (MSCUK) and has responsibility for their road and rail product, which consists of over 500 contract trucks and four contract trains performing in excess of 1200 loads per day.

Robert Brook

Robert Brook is Head of VTG Rail UK, the UK's largest private full service freight wagon lessor with 4,000 wagons, managing a team of 25 covering Sales, Operations, Engineering, Commercial and Finance. VTG's wagons cover the majority of railfreight segments: Coal & Biomass, Cement, Sand & Aggregates, Petroleum products, Containerised goods, Steel Coils, Infrastructure, Scrap metal. Their customers include the FOCs and most of the key railfreight users. Robert is also a member of the Executive Committee of the VTG Group, which has 80,000 wagons.

Simon Blake

Simon Blake is the General Manager of Rail for Aggregate Industries, a major construction materials supplier. His duties include providing safe, reliable, and cost effective rail services from a number of rail served aggregate sources (primarily located in the East Midlands) to permanent aggregate receiving depots for the supply of asphalt, concrete and aggregate products and to establish further temporary / project based rail solutions for Aggregate Industries. Simon is involved with all Aggregate Industries rail related activities from track work to shunt engines, estates management to accounts and Parish Council to ORR.