New rail job for Ipswich councillor Phil Smart

Phil Smart at the new Ipswich chord

Phil Smart with a freight train on the new Ipswich Bacon Chord in 2014. - Credit: Contributed

Senior Ipswich councillor Phil Smart has a new job with the organisation that is trying to encourage more freight to switch from road to rail as Britain tries to boost its Green agenda.

He has been appointed assistant policy manager with the Rail Freight Group - the organisation which represents operators of freight trains around the country and which works with the Department of Transport and Network Rail to boost the sector.

His job will be part-time - but will be crucial in developing more freight services from ports like Felixstowe and Harwich and pushing the case to invest in routes used by freight trains.

Among the improvements he is expected to be involved in promoting are track work between Soham and the north of Ely on the cross-country line and in the longer term the electrification of this route.

Mr Smart has been working with the rail industry for many years from his role as a Labour councillor - and he said his new appointment should not impact on his council role as portfolio holder for environmental services at the borough.

He has been a local authority representative on the team pressing for the restoration of an east-west rail link between Oxford and Cambridge which would be extended to Ipswich and Norwich.

On his appointment, he said: “I am delighted to be joining the RFG team at an exciting time for the sector. With the growing emphasis on decarbonisation, there is an increasing role for rail freight in the UK supply chains and a greater need for local and national policies to support this objective.”

Most Read

Maggie Simpson, RFG director general, added: “I am delighted to be welcoming Phil to our team. The RFG’s position as the leading member-based organisation in the sector has never been more important and I know Phil will add a huge level of experience and drive to the position.

"Rail freight is increasingly attractive to the supply chain sector and it is growing in its importance to the environmental lobby. If the government is going to meet its green targets rail freight will need to be at the top of the transport agenda."

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter