Select Committee on Transport Appendices to the Minutes of Evidence


Memorandum by Freight on Rail (REN 15)

NORTH OF ENGLAND RAIL SERVICES

  Freight on Rail welcomes the opportunity to comment upon North of England Rail services:

  The members are as follows:

  Rail Freight Group, EWS, Freightliner, Railtrack, RMT, ASLEF, TSSA and Transport 2000

  Definition of Freight on Rail

  Freight on Rail is a campaign working to get goods off roads and onto rail as an important step in developing a more sustainable distribution system.

  Freight on Rail is a partnership between transport trades unions, freight operating companies, Railtrack, the Rail Freight Group and Transport 2000. It works to promote the economic, social and environmental benefits of rail freight both nationally and locally. It advocates policy changes that support the shift to rail and provides information and help on freight related issues. In particular, it aims to help local authorities through all stages of the process such as planning a rail-freight strategy, accessing grants and dealing with technical matters.

  Rail freight traffic has grown 40% in the last five years, and the Government's 10-Year Transport Plan published in July 2001 expects a further 80% growth in this period. Without this growth the government will not reach its congestion or pollution reduction targets.

    —  Plans for investment in the rail network in the region and whether they meet the needs of additional network capacity and other improvements.

1.  SRA STRATEGIC PLAN JANUARY 2002

  Plans for enhancement identified in the SRA strategic plan are welcome and much needed to protect and develop rail freight services in the north of England and work towards the 80% growth in rail freight countrywide over the 10 year period. Without gauge increases to cater for the larger containers, which are fast becoming the international standard (9ft 6in), significant rail freight business on many routes will be lost within the next two to three years.

2.  FINANCE

  Freight on Rail would also like to see a level playing field in terms of budget allocation for rail with road, as highlighted in multi modal studies. The Commission for Integrated Transport highlighted this inconsistency on 13 May 13 2002. Nor is there a clear delivery mechanism or identified funding stream for rail based proposals. The Highways Agency has an allocation of funds within the 10YP to implement the recommendations of the multi-modal studies, whilst there is no equivalent allocation for rail. Indeed the SRA, in its Strategic Plan, states that the recommendations of the multi-modal studies will fall outside the 10YP period

3.  LONG TERM STRATEGIC GROWTH

  However Freight on Rail would also like to see strategic planning for growth over a longer period, 30-50 years encompassing major infrastructure improvements around the country to cater for rail freight growth. In particular, by pass routes for rail freight around London.

4.  CHANNEL TUNNEL RAIL FREIGHT

  Speedy resolution of the Channel Tunnel rail freight disruption, which has lasted seven months to date and is destroying international rail freight.

5.  NORTH OF ENGLAND ENHANCEMENTS

  SRA Plans for the North West, North East and Yorkshire and Humberside regions will play an important part in economic and social development.

EAST COAST MAIN LINE

  The planned capacity and capability enhancements on the East Coast Mainline will:

    —  increase flows from Scotland and this region to the south and onward to continental Europe;

    —  provide vital diversionary routes for freight from the West Coast Mainline;

    —  protect intermodal business as international standards move to 9ft 6 boxes which cannot be moved on gauges less than W12?;

    —  allow key eastern ports to develop, such as Immingham which handles 20% of EWS tonnage, where there is a new rail terminal;

    —  development of Doncaster, which acts as a major hub for the region including Immingham;

    —  Newcastle to Edinburgh loops to be re-installed so that fast passenger trains can overtake freight trains to improve capacity to allow for freight services to run; and

    —  Reinstatement of the Leamside line avoiding Durham viaduck track section.

WEST COAST MAIN LINE

  This is a vital artery for rail freight with 43% of all rail freight in the country using this route. Planned enhancements need to be implemented in full as soon as possible to protect the markets in the north of England and Scotland. Clarification is needed of what the SRA down grading of the much needed upgrades will mean.

  North of Crewe

  Implementation of four track is important to improve capacity and capability on the line.

TRANSPENNINE CORRIDOR—ALTERNATIVE TO M62

  Major freight artery with potential to act as a key route in the North European Trade Axis providing al alternative to the North West region's dependence on the north-south routes to Europe. Would like to see upgrades of this route within 10 year period of plan.

MANCHESTER AREA

  There are severe capacity constraints which affect both passenger and freight services and limit growth.

W12 GAUGE ACCESS TO MAJOR PORTS SUCH AS LIVERPOOL AND STRAFFORD PARK.

  Currently only Garston has clearance for 9ft 6 in boxes

6.  IMPORTANT PLANNED ENHANCEMENTS OUTSIDE THE REGION

  Access to the north of England is vital to sustain the area and as part of this the planned enhancements on the Felixstowe-Nuneaton and Southampton to the West Midlands are of key importance as are the rail links to the Channel Tunnel and the planned gauge enhancements on the North and West London lines.

7.  ADDITIONAL SHORT-TERM RAIL INVESTMENT WANTED

  Need to identify location for interchanges—Tursdale on the ECML, south of Durham identified near interchange on M1 as suitable location.

  Newcastle-Carlisle—upgraded gauge needed to cater for 9ft 6ins boxes

8.  NIGHT TIME POSSESSIONS FOR MAINTENANCE DAMAGE FREIGHT IN KEY NEW MARKETS

  A balance is needed in terms of possessions so that freight market is not unfairly penalised.

    —  The influence of rail services on the economic and social development in the region.

  Rail freight can play an important part in regeneration and economic growth as part of a sustainable transport strategy. Rail enhancements highlighted in the above paragraph will be key factors in regeneration of old industrial areas such as coal mines. Rail transport provides significant environmental and social benefits over road transport. Full account of the external costs of road projects such as social exclusion, health costs, road maintenance global warming and air pollution need to be taken into account when road and rail costs are being examined. Rail transport produces 80% less carbon dioxide emissions per tonne than road. Reductions in heavy goods vehicles improve community life and cut road accidents and deaths, which hit the poorer sectors of society disproportionately.

  An examples of a rail enhancement achieved which will aid regeneration is at Seaham, an old coal town where the site has been reconnected to rail network with major new warehousing and sidings.

  Example of potential site for reconnection to rail system Grimethorpe colliery an objective 1 area, where new road connections are being made which could also be rail served.



 
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