Release Date: 02 November 2007
Release ID: 753
The Freight Transport Association has welcomed the announcement by Rail Minister Tom Harris on 29 October of the funding for additional freight enhancements via the Transport Innovation Fund (TIF).
The biggest of these schemes is £80 million for gauge enhancement of the Peterborough to Nuneaton route. This will allow the increasing numbers of larger 9’ 6” containers to have an alternative route from the developing Felixstowe port to the distribution centres of the West Midlands and beyond, avoiding this traffic having to cross London.
The other announcement of substantial funding is for an additional £42 million for similar gauge clearance for larger container boxes from Southampton port to the West Midlands.
It is not all about containers, though, as there is funding for infrastructure enhancements to allow increasing bulk imports of coal from Humber ports to access the power stations of the Aire and Trent Valley.
Commenting, Chris MacRae, FTA’s Rail Freight Policy Manager said, ‘This extra funding really is welcome. FTA has been calling for the Government to invest in improvements to the inland connections from our ports, and this was also identified by the Eddington Report as a priority. So it is great to see the Government helping rail freight to achieve its potential in the UK’s supply chain.
‘These investments will allow more rail freight to move from the UK’s ports at a price competitive with road, improving the quality of our international supply and reducing its environmental impact.
‘Together with the funding that the Government announced in July for the Gospel Oak to Barking gauge clearance, this all starts to realise the concept of a Strategic Freight Network that the Government committed itself to in its July Rail White Paper for development with industry. FTA is part of that process.
‘It is also great to see Network Rail being so pro-active in developing these proposals for Government funding with industry partners.’
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