Memorandum submitted by English Welsh
& Scottish Railway
This is English Welsh & Scottish Railway's
(EWS) submission into the UK ports industry. We appreciate the
opportunity to make a submission at this stage of the inquiry.
The inquiry should highlight the need to focus
on improved connectivity between shipping and inland transport
with the port sitting at the interface between the two. The specific
interest of the rail industry, in a nation that is increasing
its trading base rather than its manufacturing base, is to ensure
that the ports industry treats modes in an even-handed way.
EWS is the largest UK rail freight operator.
We move over 100 million tonnes of freight a year, employ 4,800
staff and have invested over £600 million in rail freight
over the last 10 years. EWS is part of a rail freight industry
that has seen 70% growth since 1995 and is forecasting another
50% growth by 2014. Rail freight provides a sustainable means
of moving goods to, from and in the United Kingdom. Moving freight
by rail causes between one quarter and one tenth of the emissions
created by moving the same freight by road.
Over half of the freight moved by EWS is to
and from UK ports including coal from Immingham, Bristol, Liverpool
and Hunterston, containers from Felixstowe and Southampton and
iron ore from Immingham. Other commodities that we move to and
from ports are cars, car parts, chemicals, aggregates and steel.
The Channel Tunnel should also be regarded as
a port given the volume of rail and road, freight and passenger
traffic that moves through the tunnel.
Many of the UK's ports by built and developed
by the railway companies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries
and the integration of the rail and port facilities was a critical
factor in their success. We would hope that the Committee's inquiry
will recognise the importance to the competitiveness of the UK
economy of restoring the link between port and rail. For the UK
to be competitive it needs a competitive ports industry where
ports are competing with each other to provide a high quality
of service at low prices. We are not convinced that this is the
Port operators must learn to use their assets
efficiently to allow the quickest possible turn round of goods
and transport assets. By achieving quicker turn rounds it becomes
possible to increase throughputa recent study of a major
port identified the opportunity to accommodate 14 additional trains
if a standard two hour turn round was achieved.
To be competitive ports need to provide access
on equal terms to both road and rail modes and to deal with all
transport operators in an even-handed manner. Given that the port
is an intermediary between the end customer and the transport
operator it must remain strictly neutral in its transhipment role
and not seek to favour one mode over another or one operator over
another. Recent legislative changes have reinforced the need for
ports to act in a non-discriminatory manner.
Port railways that were not owned and/or operated
by the British Railways Board immediately prior to April 1994
were exempt from the access provisions of the Railways Act 1993.
This meant that a Freight Operator did not have the regulatory
protection of being able to approach ORR to secure access and
reasonable charges if the Port Operator either did not want to
grant access or wanted to grant access but only on unreasonable
terms. EU Directive 2001/14, as part of the First Package of railway
directives, was designed with the aim to open up the European
Community railways to open access including many facilities that
had previously been exempt from access under national legislation.
EU Directive 2001/14 was transposed into UK
law by means of "The Railways Infrastructure (Access &
Management) Regulations 2005" in November 2005. Under these
Regulations (Regulation 6), a Freight Operator is entitled to
track access and the supply of services in ports linked to the
national railway network which serve, or potentially serve, more
than one final customer. Requests for access and the supply of
services must be granted in a transparent and non-discriminatory
manner and can only be refused by if viable alternatives by rail
under market conditions exist. If these entitlements are not supplied,
then a Freight Operator is entitled to make an appeal to Office
of Rail Regulation under Regulation 29. The services that a Port
is required to supply would include, access, use of loading/unloading
facilities (ie cranes etc), shunting, access for relevant road
vehicles and any other rail related service.
Notwithstanding the above, Port railways that
were owned and/or operated by BRB immediately prior to April 1994
would be covered by the open access provisions contained in the
Railways Act 1993 so any access contracts agreed at such Ports
would be subject to ORR approval. A Freight Operator could appeal
to ORR under Section 17 or 22A of the Act if it considered it
was being unfairly treated or discriminated against.
The Committee may wish to consider whether the
ports industry is fully aware of the implications of this legislation
and is applying it in practice.
Port handling charges provide a mechanism for
discriminating between modes and between operators. It is essential
for the lift charges levied on rail operators to be the same as
those levied on road hauliers. Charges between operators should
be the same for the same type of service. The Committee may wish
to consider whether a form of price regulation should be introduced
to ensure compliance.
The Channel Tunnel represents the port with
the greatest potential for expansion, whether by shuttle or international
rail freight services.
The outcome of recent discussions has meant
that rail freight services have been able to continue to operate
beyond the ending of historic financial arrangements between the
UK Government and EWS. However, this can only be an interim arrangement
as the level of tolls still exceeds the charges the market can
bear. Rail freight operators and Eurotunnel will need to agree
affordable tolls if the potential of the Channel Tunnel is to
Rail access to ports should be improvedthe
UK suffers from limitations in rail capacity (number of train
paths) and rail capability (loading gauge). New port facilities
are being considered with limited regard for rail infrastructure
The Humberside Ports include Immingham to the
South of the Humber and Hull to the North. These ports primarily
import coal for onward rail freight movement, with investment
by ABP in HIT2 (Humber International Terminal Stage 2) ongoing,
with completion in 2006. Rail can use the route to greater effect
by expanding the capacity of the two routes and providing greater
route capability. The route availability should be raised to RA10
throughout, and speed restrictions tackled to raise overall line
Re-open Brigg lineadditional
Hull DocksLine speed, capacity
and train length.
Hull to Doncasterincrease
Remove Temporary Speed Restrictions.
Immingham to DoncasterBi-directional
signalling, additional loops, remove speed restrictions, capacity
improvements, remodel Wrawby junction.
Felixstowe, Ipswich and Bathside Bay at Harwich
comprise the Haven Ports. Currently planning inquiries are underway
for the development of Felixstowe and the opening of Bathside
Bay as container terminals. These would see an expansion of container
traffic through each port. The route from Felixstowe to the WCML
via London and the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML) is cleared for
W10 traffic allowing rail to convey 9 foot 6 inch Maritime ISO
containers on standard freight wagons. This route is busy with
other passenger and freight services.
An alternative route avoiding London and using
quieter lines is via Ely, Peterborough and Leicester to join the
WCML at Nuneaton. Extending gauge capability between Water Orton
and Bescot would provide a link into the heart of the West Midlands
and an alternative route to the WCML when Nuneaton is closed for
engineering works. Felixstowe to Nuneaton would also require modest
The existing route via the North London Line
is congested by freight and passenger services. The road network
including the North circular and M25 are also very congested.
A capacity enhancement would benefit all freight and passenger
trains. The route has a mixture of two, three and four tracks
with only some line electrified with AC power required by freight.
An enhancement to the electrification of the route would provide
flexibility in routing and contribute to additional capacity.
The enhancements are:
Provide enhanced gauge capability
between Felixstowe and Nuneaton via Leicester, and via Sutton
Capacity improvements including Bi-directional
capability at Ely West curve and Felixstowe branch.
Capacity improvements on the North
The Port of Southampton anticipates significant
growth although expansion plans at Dibden Bay were turned down.
This is the second largest container port in the UK. Rail can
convey 8 foot 6 inch containers, or 9 foot 6 inch containers in
special and inefficient wagons. It does not have the ability to
convey 9 foot 6 inch Maritime ISO containers on standard freight
wagons. The capability to run longer trains will allow rail to
convey more containers for each train and mainly requires enhance
loop length. Capacity enhancements will also be required around
Reading and Basingstoke, to allow the trains to thread their way
around these congested nodes.
The enhancements are:
Provide enhanced gauge capability
between Southampton and the West Midlands/West Coast Main Line.
Freight loop around Basingstoke.
Capacity and length enhancement to
Reading West curve.
Longer loops between Southampton
Birkenhead, Seaforth and Garston comprise the
Merseyside Ports. Birkenhead is not currently rail connected,
so road congestion will build as the port develops. Seaforth rail
capacity is restricted by the need to make a run round manoeuvre
at Edge Hill. This also uses capacity inefficiently on the Liverpool
to Manchester line, leading to performance issues. Reinstating
the direct link, called the Olive Mount Chord, and eliminating
the run round will increase capacity and performance. The port
also receives container traffic. None of these move by rail, as
there is no W10 clearance. The route is only a short distance
form the West Coast Main Line, which is already W10 cleared, linking
Liverpool with Scotland, the West Midlands and London.
Reconnect Birkenhead Docks to rail
Reinstate Olive Mount Chord to remove
capacity conflicts between freight and passenger services.
Gauge clearance between Seaforth
The planning inquiry to turn the site of the
former Shellhaven Oil refinery on the Thames, east of London,
into a container terminal is complete. The Minister is minded
to approve the scheme. This will add to local and regional congestion
without adequate enhancement of the rail network. The route is
already W10 gauge cleared. There are two routes that could be
used around London. The first via Stratford requires freight trains
to cross all four tracks of the Great Eastern Main Line (GEML),
and then the congested North London Line (NLL). The alterative
route uses the Tottenham and Hampstead route, which is grade separated
from the GEML and avoids the NLL. The route would require gauge
enhancement to convey the containers. Electrification, limited
structure strengthening and some minor capacity works would allow
the route to accept all Shellhaven trains, and avoid the other
Provide gauge clearance.
The traditional routes between Dollands Moor
and Wembley have different capability. The Sevenoaks route is
not cleared to W9, which restricts the maintenance strategy and
causes capacity issues on the Brighton Main Line. A range of minor
works around the West London Line would improve capacity, such
as speed at Falcon Junction at Clapham Junction, strengthening
Chelsea Bridge and an additional loop at Kensington Olympia.
The opening of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link
(CTRL) in 2007 will allow European gauge freight to run from Europe,
through the Channel Tunnel and into East London. It will then
connect with the UK network, which currently is not cleared to
European gauge. An extension of the Down Goods line at Ripple
Lane will also assist a smooth transition between the two networks.
Provide gauge clearance via Sevenoaks.
Minor capacity works around West
European gauge clearance from Barking
to Wembley, Birmingham and Manchester.
Ripple Lane extensions.
The Grain Branch links the North Kent line with
the Port at Thamesport. The capacity is restrictive with only
train permitted to run at a time. Any expansion of services would
require capacity enhancements for the line, which could include
higher line speeds; additional loops; signalling enhancement;
and level crossing works.
30 November 2006